Martin O'Neill

MON: We'll get stronger

by Stuart Vose

Boss reviews Liverpool point.

Martin O’Neill feels Sunderland can only get stronger after watching his side earn a point at home to Liverpool.

Steven Fletcher scored his third goal in two games to give Sunderland a 29th-minute lead when he slid home Craig Gardner’s cross.

But Luis Suarez levelled 19 minutes from time when he profited from a fortuitous bounce in the box to level from close range.

O’Neill was delighted with the first-half performance and said his players gave “as good as they got” in the opening 45 minutes.

“It was a terrific effort considering we had a number of members of the squad who are still not properly fit – as the weeks go on we’ll get stronger,” he added.

“Craig Gardner did exceptionally well in the build-up to the goal – he earned that little bit of luck.

“He managed to get past two players and drove a great ball in for [Steven] Fletcher to put it in the back of the net to get his third goal in two matches. That will be a big boost for him.

“Gardner was great today and [Jack] Colback was also outstanding - there were a number of very good performances.”

Liverpool hit the crossbar and the outside of the post before Suarez eventually equalised and O’Neill admitted the visitors were the stronger side after the break.

“It was always going to be difficult with Liverpool searching for that equalising goal,” he said. “Not many in the stadium would say that they didn’t deserve it.

“We gave the ball away a little bit in the second half and I think that is something we must improve on.

“When we’re under pressure in games we need to be able to take the sting out of matches.

“It was disappointing to concede the goal, especially at a point where we just getting back into the game in terms of possession.”