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Clean Sheet Key For Poyet

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Gus Poyet believes Sunderland once more offer a stern test to any team they come up against, having seemingly fully recovered from the thrashing at Southampton earlier in the campaign.

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Sunderland claimed a point at Leicester City on Saturday afternoon and could well have come away with all three had they managed to beat inspired Foxes 'keeper Kasper Schmeichel.

Steven Fletcher was denied on a couple of occasions, while Adam Johnson also tested the former Manchester City and Notts County star from distance.

However, Leicester were also a threat when breaking at pace on a number of occasions and the Black Cats' defence held firm mainly thanks to strong displays from captain John O'Shea, French full-back Anthony Reveillere and giant Romanian goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon.

Manager Poyet was pleased with the hard-earned clean sheet ensuring a share of the spoils and feels his side have regained the defensive solidity they began the season with, despite that horrible wobble at St. Mary's:

"The clean sheet was the best part of the game for us.

"We used to say we were a difficult team to play against until that [Southampton] game a few weeks ago, now we are back to that.

"I needed to think about what happened there and get back to basics.

"That day was terrible; we collapsed. It was something unique.

"It created doubts in the players’ minds, and you have to be careful.

"Then we made two massive mistakes in the next game, and we had to recover from that.

"We have now played Palace away and Leicester away, and we conceded only one goal in those two games so I think we are back to normal.

"We play Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool next, though, so after that I will let you know for sure!

"We had to make sure we didn’t give the opposition many chances, which is important in football, and then try to play our game.

"We'll play worse and win games, so today we need to be pleased with the performance and the clean sheet and the point."

With a very tough schedule in prospect, Poyet will be praying that his defence continues to hold firm when facing some of the most potent strikers in the game over the next few weeks.

At the very least, he can be comforted by the steady improvement shown at the back - one lapse of concentration by Wes Brown in the first half yesterday apart - and can have a certain level of confidence heading into the hectic Christmas period.