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Tuesday 23 January 2018

David Moyes hails Sunderland courage after late leveller against West Brom

John O'Shea returned to the Sunderland team for Saturday's 1-1 draw with West Brom
John O'Shea returned to the Sunderland team for Saturday's 1-1 draw with West Brom

David Moyes praised the courage of his Sunderland players after seeing them grasp just a second Premier League point of the season against West Brom.

The injury-hit Black Cats needed an 83rd-minute equaliser from substitute Patrick van Aanholt to snatch a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light on Saturday and avoid a fourth successive home defeat.

Moyes said: "We are lacking a bit of quality at the minute in certain areas, but the players tried to make up for it with their endeavour and their courage to try to play at times where we weren't that good at it.

"But they showed a bit of courage to keep taking the ball because you have got to have a big set of you-know-whats sometimes to take the ball when you are not playing that well."

Sunderland were aided in no small part by the return of veteran defender John O'Shea, whose enduring organisational skills helped to prevent the Baggies from adding to the 35th-minute lead they were given by Nacer Chadli's strike.

Moyes was delighted with the Republic of Ireland international's contribution, but is well aware he is not a long-term solution as he approaches the end of his career.

The Scot said: "We'd love John to be 24 and just coming up - and what a good player he was when he was 24. But as we know, he's now 34, so we know there's another stage."

However, no matter how flattered he might have been by his manager's assessment of his performance, O'Shea had to correct him.

The former Manchester United defender told the club's official website, "I'll have to add another one on to that because it's 35.

"Look, it's one of those things. That's when the squad is needed. You have to be ready. The manager decided it was my turn and you have to come in and impress.

"We were desperate for that clean sheet and that's the big thing going forward for us because if we get that clean sheet, we are going to get chances to score."

Jermain Defoe uncharacteristically passed up a fourth-minute chance to open the scoring for the home side and while the Black Cats struggled at times, they finished the game on the front foot as they looked for a winner.

However, O'Shea was ultimately satisfied with a point.

He said: "Look, we want to be beating West Brom at home, but we had stages where we were pushing, we were leaving ourselves a little bit open too, but I thought we deserved to get back into the game.

"We did and could have gone on to win it, but we are happy with the point because we could have lost it too."

O'Shea's Republic of Ireland team-mate James McClean was booed at every touch by the home fans on his return to Wearside and was eventually substituted after picking up a booking for a rash challenge on Wahbi Khazri.

West Brom boss Tony Pulis said: "I just felt that with the booking, the crowd can sway things at this place, so I thought it was right to change him. He'd played his part.

"James is James. He does some good things and he does some daft things at times, but he's whole-hearted, he gives everything he's got and he's a really honest boy.

"The group love him, they do, they've really, really got a lot of time for James."

Press Association

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