Sunday 21 October 2012
Despite witnessing an 86th-minute equaliser that deprived his side of a first Barclays Premier League away victory of the season, manager Alan Pardew described Newcastle United's 1-1 draw with Sunderland as a "magnificent effort".
"It's a great point and I'm very proud of my players"
The Magpies had taken a third-minute lead through Yohan Cabaye and were just four minutes away from leaving the Stadium of Light with all three points when Demba Ba's own goal levelled the match.
Yet, having endured 65 minutes of the contest with just ten men following the dismissal of Cheick Tiote, Pardew could only praise his side's diligence.
"It was a magnificent effort," said Pardew. "We said to the players before the game how important it was to the fans – we've now shown how important it is to us.
"Playing an hour with 10 men, if we could have just seen it out it would have been one of the greatest victories ever here, but it's a great point and I'm very proud of my players."
The Newcastle manager admitted the sending-off "changed the game", with Ivory Coast midfielder Tiote punished for a dangerous tackle on Steven Fletcher, but Pardew accepted the dismissal was the correct decision.
"At first I didn't think it was that bad, but looking back at it again we can't have any complaints,” he said. “But what a response from the rest of the group."
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill revealed he felt a combination of relief and exhilaration at his side's late equaliser.
"When we equalised, it was one of the best moments, it really was, to be accompanied by that noise..."
"Do you know what? When we equalised, it was one of the best moments, it really was, and to be accompanied by that noise," he said. "There's an element of relief, but every derby game I have ever been involved in either here or in Scotland, there has always been an element of relief.
The Black Cats have won just one of the last 16 derbies, but perhaps more worryingly, have tasted victory just once in the 15 Barclays Premier League matches they have played since March.
"In the second half, sheer pressure alone probably yielded us the goal rather than anything flamboyantly brilliant,” added O’Neill. "We got the goal and maybe had enough time them to go on and win it, but in the circumstances with Newcastle being down to 10 men and having defended so strongly, that would have been harsh."
As far as defender John O'Shea was concerned, Sunderland deserved their point. "I think so," he said. "Newcastle work hard on their shape with two banks of four and the big men up front, so it was difficult, but we managed to get the goal.
"It was a great game to be involved in, both [sets of] players wanted to win so much. It was vital not to lose the game."
Sunderland midfielder Sebastian Larsson admitted he was starting to lose hope before the late equaliser arrived. "When we had that much possession for so long we were starting to doubt it maybe, but luckily we managed to get the equaliser,” he said.
"It would have been devastating to lose that game, all that possession and not to get a goal would have been harsh."
For match report, stats and photos, click here >>