The Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill believes that his team did enough to earn at least a point off Arsenal this weekend, and warns that the boot will be on the other foot in next weekend’s FA Cup match.
Sunderland had had a gruelling extra-time win over Middlesbrough last Wednesday while Arsenal had a full weeks rest, but this time it is Arsenal’s turn to play in Milan on Wednesday while the Black Cats put their feet up at home, and O’Neill believes it will be a different game next week.
He said: “I thought we didn’t deserve to lose the game. It was a big effort by the team. We were very tired. I know that from the extra time we against Middlesbrough.
“Perhaps the positions will be reversed next weeks when they play midweek and we get a rest. I have not complaints about the team. The last couple of months the heart and soul have gone into the game.
“We can draw breath now. I have no criticism of my team, none. The boys just need a bit of energy again which we will get in the week, and we will get it back for next week. It is genuinely disappointing to lose.
“James McClean took his goal well and was splendid. He works tirelessly for us taking top quality players on. Where he gets the energy from I do not know.
“Overall, when we got that extra energy, we took the game to them but it wasn’t to be. You can only learn from this for next week.”
He is right though that Arsenal will be more tired next week and Sunderland won’t. And also we won’t have Thierry Henry there to save us!