Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We Didn't Deserve Defeat, Argues Keane

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We Didn't Deserve Defeat, Argues Keane

Article excerpt

Byline: STUART RAYNER.

SUNDERLAND'S players have been told to hold their nerve and learn the lessons of a third consecutive defeat which manager Roy Keane felt was undeserved, writes STUART RAYNER.

Wednesday's Carling Cup fourth round tie at home to Blackburn Rovers has assumed even greater importance after the 2-1 loss to Portsmouth at the Stadium of Light on Saturday. The Wearsiders dominated the first half, taking the lead through Djibril Cisse in the fourth minute and almost added to it but for Kieran Richardson's shot striking the post.

But Nadir Belhadj smashed a stunning equaliser and a reckless foul by El-Hadji Diouf allowed Jermain Defoe to extend Sunderland's sequence of defeats since the Wear-Tyne derby with an injury-time penalty.

The reverse proved extremely costly with yesterday's results condemning Sunderland to a place in the ever-changing bottom three, a point and a place above basement club West Bromwich Albion. "You hope the penny drops," Keane reflected. "We don't mind players making mistakes as long as you learn from it. If you don't take your chances it is hard to take and hard to dress it up and lift the players.

"We have to persevere. We have to keep believing in what we try to do.

We have to knuckle down and get higher up the table.

"It was very disappointing to lose in the last few minutes and we certainly deserved more than we got, particularly after the first half.

"We know we have not been a team that scores too many goals.

Whether it was bad finishing or good goalkeeping I don't know, but that was disappointing.

"They got a good boost with the equaliser early in the second half and were hitting us on the break.

We were not testing their keeper at all and it looked destined for a draw.

"Then a striker's tackle (by Diouf on Glen Johnson) and I have no complaints about the penalty. …

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