John O'Shea

Stand-in skipper's Chelsea verdict

Published:
by Stuart Vose

O'Shea praises character but highlights defensive lapses.

John O’Shea felt Sunderland’s defending helped smooth the way for Chelsea to record their first league win under new boss Rafa Benitez.

The Black Cats found themselves 2-0 down at half-time thanks to a Fernando Torres double before Juan Mata added a third goal just after the break.

Martin O’Neill’s side had some good spells and pulled a goal back through Adam Johnson, who scored with a crisp angled finish, but couldn't find a way back into the game.

We had to show a bit of character at home in front of our own fans. I don’t think we’ve ever laid down and let teams streamroller us

- John O'Shea

“Chelsea have some good players as it is, but we helped them out quite a bit with the second and third goals,” said O’Shea, who returned from injury to take the captain’s armband.

“We’re more than capable of scoring a couple of goals ourselves so it was important to try and go in at half time within touching distance.

“The penalty was a big blow for us and then when we were trying to stay in the game we found ourselves 3-0 down.”

Facing a 3-0 deficit, Sunderland managed to reduce the arrears thanks to Johnson’s strike and  went on to give the European champions a few scares over the course of the final 20 minutes.

Petr Cech clawed away a Johnson free-kick which looked destined for the top corner, while Craig Gardner blasted against the crossbar late on.

“We showed great character to come back into the game,” O’Shea explained.

“There were some good chances created and Cech made some fantastic saves.

“We got some great balls into the box and on another day those would have fallen to people.”

The defender added: “We had to show a bit of character at home in front of our own fans. I don’t think we’ve ever laid down and let teams streamroller us.

“That’s a small positive to take, but we did help Chelsea out with the goals and made it a hard road for ourselves.”

Sunderland now face Reading in midweek in their game in hand – the original fixture was postponed back in August.

And O’Shea admits the clash is a big one for the Black Cats. 

“We have to look forward to Tuesday now,” he said.

“It’s a huge game as we all know and hopefully we can get something positive from it.”