Sunderland manager Chris Coleman has admitted that he was delighted with the fight shown by his side in their 1-1 draw with Millwall at The New Den.
The Black Cats took the lead in SE16 courtesy of a stunning Bryan Oviedo strike but they were denied the three points by Shaun Hutchinson’s second half leveller.
The point gained from the clash leaves Sunderland rooted to the bottom of the table but after the match, manager Coleman admitted that he was pleased with his side’s fight and commitment.
“Im really pleased” Coleman told The72 in the post-match press conference. “It’s a hard place to come, it’s a great place to play because of the atmosphere but if you don’t come here with your sleeves rolled up you’re finished before you get off the bus.
“That’s three games running where we’ve had something about us.
“I think they were nine games unbeaten, three on the bounce they’d won.
“We stood up to the test, I thought we deserved a point.
“We battled, we scrapped and you could see why they (Millwall) are where they are.
“We would’ve lost that four games ago.
“We are inching in the right direction.”
Sunderland’s goal came from their only shot on target of the match and Coleman admitted that his side simply lacked creativity in the final third.
“We lacked a little bit of confidence” The Black Cats boss admitted. “Rather than doing things one or two-touch, we had an extra touch because we didn’t want to give the ball away but against Millwall they close you down.
“The first half we should’ve done better (in the final third), the second half we had the chance with the free-kick at the end.
“It was just lacking the final touch and when you are bottom of the league, that happens in football.
“We need to focus on little areas which we can be better.”
Speaking about Oviedo’s wonder-strike, Coleman was pleased that his side exploited one of Millwall’s visible weaknesses.
Coleman added “I don’t know why we didn’t do it more often (the short corner).
“It was obvious, we had two men against one.
“McGeady can beat anyone on his day and as it happens he played it short to Bryan.
“It was well worked but it was on more to do that.
Again, that’s down to confidence.”
The Welshman reserved special praise for the travelling army of almost 2,000 who braved the conditions to make the long trip south.
“They were tremendous” said Coleman. “Given the weather conditions, that tells you a lot about the size of the club really.
“They just want to see people who care about the club.
“They’ll forgive you for one or two shortcomings but they won’t forgive you for lack of effort and if you don’t care.
“I’m pleased that we got a point for them and gave a fighting performance.”
Sunderland are back in action on Tuesday evening when Aston Villa are the visitors to The Stadium of Light.