Mixed emotions for chief following draw.
Martin O’Neill praised goalkeeper Simon Mignolet once again as the Belgian played a key role in the draw against Fulham.
Sunderland were 2-1 down in the second half when Mignolet produced a huge save to deny Dimitar Berbatov one-on-one.
And the intervention proved to be crucial as the hosts broke immediately to the other end and scored the equalising goal through Stephane Sessegnon.
Sessegnon’s goal was special following the magnificent save from Mignolet – it was a pivotal moment in the game
- Martin O'Neill
“Simon’s save was a big moment for us,” O’Neill said. “We could have gone 3-1 behind but within 25 seconds we made it two apiece.
“[Stephane] Sessegnon’s goal was special following the magnificent save from Mignolet – it was a pivotal moment in the game.”
Dimitar Berbatov fired the hosts ahead early against the run of play from the penalty spot before Sascha Riether doubled Fulham’s advantage.
Craig Gardner pulled a goal back almost immediately – scoring from the spot after Danny Graham was fouled – before Sessegnon blasted home from 20 yards to secure a point.
The Sunderland boss was pleased with the fightback but admitted his side were their “own worst enemy” at times.
“We conceded a penalty early in the game – at that point I thought the referee was going to book their player for simulation,” he said.
“But that said we still got caught in the midst of it all and we then found ourselves two goals behind.
“It was a great fightback to get to 2-2.
“It was important to get a goal before half time and we managed to do that. We piled pressure on them and I think we deserved to take a point.”
Sunderland applied late pressure and O’Neill felt his side should have had a late penalty.
“There was the chance we were going to get a third goal but unfortunately it didn’t transpire,” he said.
“I thought it was a clear penalty at the end of the game, [Phillipe] Senderos handled the ball.
“We suffered last week to similar incidents – one given against us and one not given for us.
“It was a big moment in the game today and there needs to be consistency.”