Sunderland 1 Swansea City 1: Sunderland skipper John O’Shea has urged his team-mates to use their first point of the season as a springboard to ease themselves up the Barclays Premier League.
The Black Cats belatedly opened their account for the campaign, showing commendable resilience to claw their way back after falling behind.
It was not the win head coach Dick Advocaat craved after desperately poor performances in defeats to Leicester and Norwich and they remained at the foot of the table on goal difference, but it was a start.
O’Shea said: “The negative vibe around because of such poor performances has not totally gone — we didn’t win, we got a draw, but it’s something to start with.”
The home side started the game well, but fell behind on the stroke of half-time when their concentration slipped and Bafetimbi Gomis pounced to convert Kyle Naughton’s pass for his third goal in as many games.
However, Sunderland were back on level terms with 62 minutes gone when Jermain Defoe fired past Lukasz Fabianski from Jeremain Lens’ through-ball. They might have claimed all three points in a rousing finish after which they might have been awarded a penalty for handball against Ashley Williams.
All in all, it was a much improved display from Advocaat’s men, with O’Shea’s leadership and organisational skills proving invaluable on his return to the team after only being a substitute for the opening two fixtures.
The Ireland international said: “Look, it’s one of those things. The manager is the manager. I have always been brought up in the way that you have to respect the decision of the manager.
“I do my stuff in training and if he is going to pick me, he is going to pick me.
“I was delighted to come back in and help any way I can. Everyone wants to play, but as the manager will always say, he’s going to have to disappoint a few people. That’s just the Premier League.”
Advocaat hopes to increase that competition further during the remaining days of the transfer window and sent a fresh message to chairman Ellis Short, who had earlier used his programme notes to hit back at criticism of his reign, after the final whistle.
The Dutchman said: “We still need something, and hopefully our president will realise that as well because you cannot bring that every week.”
Swansea boss Garry Monk headed back to Wales bemoaning the two points that got away, but was satisfied with his side’s start to the season.
He said: “As a team we are a handful. That’s the way we set up, it’s the way I want us to play. Unfortunately, we didn’t the get three points we probably should have had.”
Pantilimon, Jones, Coates, O’Shea, van Aanholt, Cattermole, Lens (Larsson 93), M’Vila, Rodwell, Defoe (Watmore 86), Graham (Fletcher 67).
Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor, Cork, Shelvey, Ayew, Sigurdsson.
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