David Moyes was upbeat this week after seeing Sunderland come from behind to rescue a point against West Brom, and really he can probably feel aggrieved that his side didn't come away with the win, despite not playing particularly well until late in the game.
In his post-match email, Moyes remarked:
I'd have liked to have got that second goal and won it 2-1, but I don't think we deserved to be 1-0 down as we played well enough in the first half. We had a great chance from a great move early on.
I'm pleased we've come back to get a point and it's a start, but I'm still disappointed we didn't get all three.
The energy and commitment was great. The endeavour was fantastic, though we are lacking bits of quality.
We had to change the system and see if we could find another way of getting a goal, and thankfully Pat came on and got one for us.
In the second half we had another chance for Jermain and it was a great block. We need those chances to go for us at the moment, though Jermain scores most of the time I have to say.
We need to score any way we can and find a way of winning. We didn't find that, but we did find a way of being in the game and hard to beat.
We defended much better today than we have in some other games, so that's a positive.
A point gives us something to build on. It wasn't a point we were after, but I would have taken it at 1-0 down with 75 minutes played.
I've got to say well done to the players for sticking at it. They kept going and never gave in to get us something out of the game.
I think I'd be inclined to agree with Moyes in this case - when you consider the chance that Jermain Defoe missed just minutes into the game, you have to say we were unlucky not to win in the end. West Brom came and did exactly what we expected they would, they defended fairly well and stayed solid, and whilst not creating a geat deal of chances they still managed to score.
Moyes deserves credit on two fronts really, and you have to be fair. He's been (rightly) criticised for not dropping out of form players and for making poor/late substitutions but on Saturday he did both.
Still though, we generally looked quite poor for a big period of the game and it wasn't until Jan Kirchhoff went off injured that we looked capable of scoring, which has to be in Moyes' thoughts when picking his team going forward - the big German is struggling for form and there are other players waiting in the wings to start games in the event of another player going through a patch of poor form.
There have been calls for Sunderland to switch to a five-man back line for a number of weeks now and when it was virtually forced upon Moyes to do so we looked ten times better, both defensively and in attack. Here's hoping that we stick with that system when we visit Stoke in just under two week's time.
It was good to end a game in a positive fashion, even if a draw might not really be of that much use at present. Though we're still searching for our first league win, it was important that we came back from going a goal down and we did so in a manner which at least now gives the manager something to build upon.
Patrick Van Aanholt as a wing back just makes sense, doesn't it? I don't think he's quite good or consistent enough to be a Premier League winger, per say, but as a wing-back it's probably about the best role we can find for him, and it showed when he came on and made a difference there at the weekend.
We have alot of central defenders that would probably benefit from having less responsibility on them positionally, have no real 'wingers', we struggle to link attack and defence when playing a back four and we need to get players around Jermain Defoe as opposed to hoofing it long, so why not play the 5-3-2 system which we ended the game with? Duncan Watmore is a central forward, and it was his good run and move through the middle which led to our goal. Jason Denayer looked far more comfortable when he was put back to centre half and Khazri is a very decent number ten - we'd be daft to ignore it, really.
I'm disappointed that we didn't win, but to come back from a goal down using a system that suits us is at least encouraging. Not having another game for two weeks is a kick in the nuts, though - we need them to be coming thick and fast.
One look at the table will show just how important a win against Stoke would be already - we'd climb above them and could potentially go ahead of West Ham too, with a fixture against the Hammers to follow our trip to the Bet365 Stadium. It's crucial that Moyes doesn't do what he did after the QPR win and just revert to type. We've stumbled across something that suits us, so lets stick with it, for the Stoke game at least.
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