Martin O'Neill

Boss rues missed chances

Published:
by Stuart Vose

O'Neill assesses defeat at WBA.

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill felt Sunderland deserved a share of the spoils as the Black Cats suffered a 2-1 defeat at West Brom.

Romelu Lukaku's double put the Baggies in control – the Belgian opening the scoring from the penalty spot in the first half before seeing a clearance from Simon Mignolet deflect off him and into the net 15 minutes from time.

Sunderland, who hit the post through Steven Fletcher at 0-0, replied through Stephane Sessegnon to set up a tight finish, but just couldn't cap the comeback.

We didn't have a great deal of luck in and around the penalty area ourselves and we should have taken more from what Stephane Sessegnon created

- Martin O'Neill

“I thought we should have got something from the game; we created a lot of chances,” O'Neill said afterwards.

“We conceded a goal from a penalty and the second [goal] was bizarre. 

“We didn't have a great deal of luck in and around the penalty area ourselves and we should have taken more from what Stephane Sessegnon created. He scored a great goal himself.

“Stephane was excellent today; top-quality in the second half.”

O'Neill felt his side should have had a penalty for handball in the closing stages of the first period with the score at 1-0 after Adam Johnson's shot was blocked.

But the Baggies went further ahead when Titus Bramble's short backpass was cleared against Lukaku, who watched as the ball flashed back beyond a stranded Mignolet and into the open goal from fully 30 yards.

“I thought we should have had a penalty kick just before half time, but it wasn't given,” O'Neill explained.

“For the second goal Titus [Bramble] should have seen the ball out instead of playing it blindly back to the goalkeeper -  the clearance has hit the player and it's in the back of the net.

“That was obviously a major setback at that stage of the game, but we got back into it and still had enough chances to get an equaliser, which I think we would have deserved, without doubt.”

Sub David Vaughan drew a good save from Ben Foster late on while James McClean cleared the crossbar with virtually the last kick of the game as a late rally came to naught.

“We had a couple of good chances at the end,” O'Neill added. “It's really disappointing. We came here with confidence following the Arsenal game two weeks ago.

“We should have capitalised on the chances we created.”