Positives to take - McClean

by Kate Smith

Winger much happier with second-half display.

Despite slipping to a narrow defeat at the hands of champions-elect Manchester United, James McClean feels there was enough in the game to take heart from. 

I thought we gave a much better second half performance.

- James McClean

The Irish international admitted that maybe Sunderland were a bit too wary of Sir Alex Ferguson’s side in the opening period, but believes Sunderland showed great endeavour after the break.

“I think we showed them far too much respect in the first half,” the winger confessed.

“We stepped back and we didn’t play as well as we can.

“At the break we had a chat about the way we were playing and we regrouped - it worked because I thought we gave a much better second-half performance.”

It was the 24-year-old’s first league start since he scored in the home victory over West Ham United in January.

McClean has featured in every game since as a second-half substitute but was pleased to be handed a start against United.

“It was good to be back in the line-up, the manager changed things around a little and maybe those four changes had an impact.

“We’ve got players waiting to come into the side and those players know what is expected of them. They showed great heart and determination in the game.

“I think we lacked cutting edge today, but like I said, the team’s heart, determination and character were all there and we can build on that as we look towards another tough game on Sunday."