Spurs v SAFC

Wickham reflects on battling finale

by Stuart Vose

Bale goal 'sucker punch' after defensive efforts, says striker.

Connor Wickham felt Sunderland rounded off the 2012-13 Barclays Premier League season on a positive note despite suffering late heartbreak at Spurs.

Gareth Bale scored a last-gasp winner at White Hart Lane after the visitors defended well under constant pressure.

“Ask any Barclays Premier League player and they will tell you it’s probably one of the hardest grounds to come to, especially this year with the way they’d been playing,” Wickham told SAFC TV.

“I think we came with a game plan and we stuck to it really well; the boys all defended really well. The strike was top class.

“It’s difficult to take knowing that we’ve gone 89 minutes, defended brilliantly and put our bodies on the line.

“For that to happen was a sucker punch.”

Wickham was recalled to the starting line-up in London and made a nuisance of himself up front alongside Danny Graham.

The pair combined to engineer Sunderland’s best chance in the opening period when Graham crossed for the young striker to force a good save from Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris with a close-range effort.

“I thought it was in to be fair, I thought I’d done enough – I think it hit his chest,” he reflected.

“We’ve created chances in every game and we had scored consecutively for quite a few games – we need to start putting more away next season.”

Meanwhile Wickham highlighted the performance of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet as another positive after the Belgian frustrated Bale and Spurs time and time again.

And the striker says he’s not surprised at the stopper’s performance at White Hart Lane given the standard of his displays all season.

“He’s been massive for us, not just today obviously but all season he’s come up with saves that not many other keepers would have been able to make,” he said.

He’s kept us in games at times this season; a lot of credit goes to him."