Coleman hails Sunderland’s character after stunning comeback denies Robins

Posted Sunday, February 11, 2018 by PA

Coleman hails Sunderland’s character after stunning comeback denies Robins

Chris Coleman believes his Sunderland team have the spirit to avoid relegation after a storming comeback from 3-0 down at Ashton Gate.

First-half goals from Aden Flint and a Famara Diedhiou double looked to have City coasting to three points but Josh Brownhill and Marlon Pack scored second-half own goals either side of an Aiden McGeady strike to produce an astonishing result.

Sunderland’s own Twitter account described City’s third goal as “game over” and soon added, in a post which was then deleted: “The #redandwhite army are heading for the exits and to be perfectly honest you can’t blame them.”

Coleman admitted: “At 3-0 down it looked like being four or five and I am thinking here we go again. We deserved to be booed off at half-time by fans who had travelled so far.

“I didn’t roast the lads at half-time. There were a few home truths (but) what happened in the second half was totally down to the players.

“I’m not taking any of the credit. The reaction from them was absolutely magnificent and that’s what we will concentrate on going forward.

“The clubs that get out of relegation trouble will not necessary have the best teams. They will need a battling spirit and that’s what we showed today.

“I can’t recall coming back from 3-0 down to get a draw as a manager or a player.”

Centre-back Flint was allowed to control a Pack free-kick inside the box, take a touch towards goal and fire home unchallenged in the fifth minute.

It was 2-0 on 31 minutes as Diedhiou ran clear onto a Bobby Reid through-ball and scored after his first attempt had been saved by Lee Camp.

Sunderland conceded a third six minutes later when Ryan Kent’s low cross from the right was slid home by the stretching Diedhiou.

Those visiting fans who stayed were given something to cheer on 70 minutes when Lee Cattermole’s header came back off the crossbar and the ball hit Brownhill, whose touch knocked it over the line.

When substitute McGeady shot low past Frank Fielding from Cattermole’s 81st-minute free-kick it set up an unexpectedly tense finish and in stoppage time, substitute Kazenga Lualua’s low cross from the by-line went in off Pack.

That left Sunderland’s social media manager proclaiming the result “Bristanbul” – a play on Liverpool’s comeback from three down in the 2005 Champions League final against AC Milan in Istanbul – but City head coach Lee Johnson was apoplectic.

He said: “I blame myself partly for not sending on an extra midfield player in the second half and killing off the game.

“But I felt there were more goals for us. In the end we have been lazy as a team in our defending and I find that very difficult to understand.

“We should have had a penalty at 3-1 up when Jamie Paterson clearly had his shirt pulled when one on one with the goalkeeper.

“But I am not blaming that. We have played some fantastic football, but not winning football and that is a concern.

“Some of the players looked tired at the end, which is something I have to look at. It’s two points dropped, but none of our rivals are on great runs at the moment.”


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