Everton v Sunderland

Boss on Everton defeat

by Stuart Vose

Manager reflects on late turnaround.

Martin O'Neill admitted the defeat at Everton was a bitter pill to swallow but praised his side for their performance, particularly in the first half.

Sunderland produced argubly their best 45 minutes of football in the opening period at Goodison Park and took the lead through Adam Johnson with virtually the last kick of the half.

Having defended comfortably throughout, the Black Cats looked on course for victory, but it was Everton who took the three points through late goals from Marouane Fellaini and Nikica Jelavic.

“We showed great spirit and determination today and the result is hard to take,” O'Neill said afterwards.

“We lost the game but we shouldn’t have. It wasn’t through lack of effort, commitment or determination. We will come good.”

Johnson opened the scoring when he clipped home Craig Gardner's cross for his first goal for the club.

The visitors had earlier created a number of good chances with Stephane Sessegnon, Steven Fletcher and Jack Colback all threatening from good positions.

“The game should have been out of sight by half time,” O'Neill added.

“We played brilliantly and should have been three goals up before the break.

"When you consider we were playing a side like Everton, who are aiming for the Champions League, I thought we were outstanding.

"We created chance after chance [in the first half] and looked much more confident.

“I don’t think anybody in the ground thought that we didn’t deserve the goal at the stroke of half time.”