Manager pleased with skipper's impact.
Martin O'Neill was pleased with the performance of Lee Cattermole as the Sunderland captain eased back into action at Stoke.
Cattermole was handed an immediate return after serving a three-match ban and helped his side to a goalless draw in the Potteries.
The midfielder was sidelined for more than a month after being sent off at MK Dons in the Capital One Cup but showed no signs of rust on his return.
“I think Lee, as captain of the side, gives us that little bit of steel,” O'Neill said. “He brings drive and determination into the game.
“Before the game I was concerned that he’d been out of action for around a month and that he might have started to fade in the game, but he didn’t.”
Meanwhile O'Neill didn't include Stephane Sessegnon in his starting line-up for the first time this season, naming the Beninese forward amongst his substitutes.
But Sessegnon did get game time as a substitute early in the second half and O'Neill was pleased with his impact off the bench.
I thought that when Sessegnon came on he looked sharp,” he said.
“I don’t think missing out on starting the game will have done him any harm.”