O’Neill reflects on Baggies reverse.
Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill watched his side endure a frustrating afternoon at the hands of a stubborn West Bromwich Albion side.
We gave some crazy goals away today but there was a big fightback from us in the second half.
- Martin O'Neill
After the game, the Black Cats boss conceded: “We gave some crazy goals away today but there was a big fightback from us in the second half.”
Both teams went into the game on the back of confidence boosting victories.
Sunderland clinched a convincing away win at Fulham last weekend, whilst the high-flying Baggies made the trip to Wearside on the back of a home victory over Chelsea.
Goals from Zoltan Gera and Shane Long gifted the visitors the first half lead, before Craig Gardner pulled a goal back 15 minutes from time.
Romelu Lukaku converted from the spot to extend Albion’s lead once again, but undeterred Sunderland kept applying the pressure and Stephane Sessegnon made it 3-2.
However, a cruel late goal as the Black Cats poured forward in search of an equaliser ensured Steve Clarke’s side returned to the Midlands with all three points.
O’Neill continued: “After going behind we were trying to force the issue for most of the game and that left gaps at the back, which West Bromwich Albion were always going to try and exploit.
“For the second goal, Simon [Mignolet], who has been faultless for us all season, was very unlucky and from there we had an uphill task.
We put absolutely and utterly everything into the game and almost forced a third goal just before they scored.
- Martin O'Neill
“We reacted strongly in the second half. We put absolutely and utterly everything into the game and almost forced a third goal just before they scored.
“For them to be awarded a penalty when we had the impetus didn’t help. It did knock us back but we came back again - we showed spirit and fight."
The manager added: “The fourth goal came because we had everybody piled in their half looking for the equaliser.
“After having our confidence restored on the back of our recent performances I thought we might have been able to get the win today.
“That confidence did show, but we were hit with those goals at a crucial time.
“We’ll be ready to go again on Tuesday."