Boss takes heart from display

by Kate Smith

‘It was a real battle to the end.'

Manager Martin O’Neill endured a frustrating afternoon after watching his side fall to European Champions Chelsea. 

However, following the result the Black Cats boss admitted there were positives to take from the game after seeing the commitment and endeavour displayed by his players. 

We put our heart and soul into the game.

- Martin O'Neill

“It was a fantastic effort by the team and I think that effort was appreciated by the crowd," O'Neill said.

“I thought we should have got something out of the game."

The Blues took an early lead through striker Fernando Torres, before the Spaniard doubled their advantage on the stroke of half time from the penalty spot.

Fellow countryman Juan Mata added to Chelsea’s tally not long after half-time giving Sunderland an even greater challenge.

“We put our heart and soul into the game,” O’Neill added.

“The penalty kick just before half-time was a major setback for us and their third goal just after half-time made it a real struggle for us to get back in the game, but we managed to do just that."

Sunderland were given a glimmer of hope after Adam Johnson reduced the deficit with his first goal at the Stadium of Light 25 minutes from time, however, the  home side were unable to hit the target with a number of chances following the winger’s strike.

“[Adam] Johnson’s goal gave us renewed hope and the fans got behind us,” the manager continued. “It was a real battle to the end.

“We hit the bar near the end and had a few balls go across the six-yard box just waiting to be put in the back of the net.

“The players are very disappointed; there’s still plenty of fight in the dressing room."