What The Gaffer Said
For Sam, that must have been a tough result to take. It's always far more disappointing when you lose playing well as opposed to losing playing rubbish.
It was an encouraging performance.
It’s obviously disappointing to come away with no points at the end of it after playing as well as we did.
It’s a hard one to take; on the chances created we should have not only drawn this game but won it, but that’s not the case tonight.
There was some excellent goalkeeping from England’s number one [Joe Hart] and he is probably the reason Manchester City won today. That and the finishing at the other end, one chance; one goal.
There are positives to take; we need to maintain this level going into our next games. The new lads performed very well today and I’m hoping they recover enough in time for Saturday’s game.
The amount of physical activity at this level is not something they’ll have experienced before, so we’ll have to see what they’re like tomorrow.
[Jan] Kirchhoff is a class player on the ball, he’s very intelligent. He sees passes that not too many players see. [Lamine] Kone is a proper defender, he’s done the job tonight and the fans loved it when Yaya Toure bounced off him.
It’s difficult to come to a foreign country and go straight into the side, but those lads produced the performance we wanted from them tonight.
[Wahbi] Khazri was impressive with his delivery of set-pieces when he came on.
Tonight’s result is hard to take especially after our performance.
There are signs on encouragement there and we have to keep those levels of performance going.
Like Sam says, the difference was their goalkeeper. Sunderland were on top for much of the game but the performance of Joe Hart was the reason we took nothing from the game. It's hard to bare.
The Performance Was All Well And Good, But We Still Got Nothing
Don't get me wrong, the performance of the Sunderland players - particularly the new signings - should give us encouragement, but unfortunately playing well does not always mean you get something from the game.
The simple fact of the matter is that whilst we're sat feeling sorry for ourselves the teams around us are picking points up against the better sides, and we aren't. We simply cannot afford to lose against Liverpool at the weekend. We need to end the hoodoo that better sides seem to have over us this season.
Kirchhoff Succeeding In A More Suitable Environment
The difference between the Jan Kirchhoff we saw away at Spurs and the Jan Kirchhoff we got last night was staggering.
I said at the time that Sam Allardyce needed to take the blame for putting him in such a thankless situation and, in fairness, Sam has came out since to shoulder it. Seeing his name on the team sheet last night might have made one or two Sunderland fans shudder but Kirchhoff more than proved his quality in a game against world class opposition, and for that he deserves immense credit.
Kirchhoff played in the same position last season for Schalke but in the Champions League against Real Madrid. Lets be honest, you're no mug if you're playing in a game of that magnitude against that level opposition. It was just a case of letting the lad bed in properly, give him the chance to up his fitness and most importantly work with the players. It was a stupid decision to throw him in the deep end halfway through the game at Spurs but that's been and gone now. Kirchhoff should be the first name on the team sheet against Liverpool, and rightly so.
Over Reliance On Defoe Goals Needs To End
Jermain Defoe might well be our top scorer this season but we can't expect him to score goals every week. As prolific as he's been throughout his career, he tends to go three or four games without notching, and then will bag one or two in the same game.
That said, without Defoe's goals we'd be in a complete mess. Counting the fact Patrick Van Aanholt has had two of the four goals he's scored chalked off, our next highest scorer in the squad is Duncan Watmore, with a massive three. Simply put, that's not good enough and indicative that we're a tad over-reliant on Defoe scoring the goals to win us games.
Sam Allardyce needs to make a challenge to his midfielders to step their game up in front of goal.
We didn't spent ten million pounds on Fabio Borini to not score goals. He needs to pull his finger out and take on some responsibility like he did when he was on loan here.
Liverpool Are There For The Taking
When all is said and done, we have to get over the disappointment of not getting something from a game we definitely deserved something from and have to move on to the next one.
I've seen Liverpool on a number of occasions this season, and they're as inconsistent as any side in the league.
Liverpool's form since beating us in December has been awful - they've won just once, in that freak game against Norwich. They, by no means, are not unbeatable.
Sam, on the off chance you're reading this - go there and go for three points. Please. One just isn't going to be enough. Every week we're dropping points, we're falling further and further behind. The players showed last night that they're more than capable of taking a better side to their limits. Lets not think about our past record at Anfield, or the fact they're higher up the table than we are - lets go into the game with the mentality that we are there to take all three points. It's us against the world now and in order to stay up we need a run of freak wins that will propel us above the sides around us.
Lets not waste the opportunity.