Lee Cattermole

Huge positives for skipper

by Stuart Vose

Cattermole speaks post-Arsenal.

Lee Cattermole praised Sunderland's attitude and organisation after captaining the Black Cats to an opening-day draw at Arsenal.

Martin O'Neill's side kept the Gunners at bay to claim a useful draw after absorbing heavy pressure, particularly after half time.

“It was a great point and I’m sure it will prove vital to us at the end of the season,” midfielder Cattermole said.

“It’s important for us to get the point on the board; it sets us away.

“We came here and showed a great attitude and defensively I thought we were absolutely brilliant." 

He added: “Even the full-backs, Kieran [Richardson] and Craig [Gardner], while it’s not their favourite position, have gone in there and done a great job for the team.

“The two centre-backs, midfield – front to back I thought we defended well and had some good chances.”

The game was played in blazing sunshine and 30-degree temperatures, something Cattermole felt the club's pre-season preparations catered for.

“I think it’s turned out right [going to Korea] because today was similar to playing over there so I think we had an idea what it was going to be about,” he explained.

“We just got into it like we did over there and it worked out very well. But it was very tough; it goes in the bank now and we move on.”

Meanwhile Cattermole also highlighted the importance of communication after seeing his side start the new campaign with a clean sheet.

A reshaped defence featuring new signing Carlos Cuellar refused to be overwhelmed and held firm in a frenetic finale.

“Closing down and the defence talking to the midfield asking us to cut angles off for them, are just little things you don’t always see,” Cattermole explained.

“When you come to places like this it’s about focus and concentration. I think today we did those things really well.”