JOS: Competition is high

Published:
by Stuart Vose

Players focused after defeat, says skipper.

John O’Shea admits the defeat at Arsenal will ramp up competition for places ahead of this weekend’s Capital One Cup final.

Sunderland take on Manchester City in front of an expected crowd of 90,000 in the showpiece game at Wembley on Sunday.

The big thing when you come on as a substitute is to make an impact, and the lads who came on did that

- O'Shea on subs' impact at Arsenal

Gus Poyet’s side suffered a 4-1 defeat at the Emirates Stadium but improved in the second half after making a double change at half time.

Seb Larsson and Emanuele Giaccherini both entered the fray at the start of the second period, with the latter netting a fine consolation goal 10 minutes from time.

Meanwhile recent signing Nacho Scocco also made a substitute appearance for the Black Cats, who suffered their first away defeat since late November.

Speaking after the game, O’Shea said: “The big thing when you come on as a substitute is to make an impact, and the lads who came on did that.

“It was a fantastic strike from Manu; he’ll be confident now and pushing for a place in that starting eleven.

“The performance will give the head coach decisions to make and will make sure that training is extremely sharp and that everyone’s focused.”

He added: “It’s a one-off occasion [on Sunday]. Arsenal and Manchester City are similar quality-wise, with many similar players but some different attributes as well.

“It’s going to be a difficult test, we know that, but we also know we can perform a lot better. We’ll make sure we train well this week and we must start the game much better.”