SUNDERLAND manager Martin O’Neill detected fear in his Sunderland players during their 0-0 draw with Queens Park Rangers last night.
Two sides lacking quality and ambition played out an uninspiring draw on a miserable night at the Stadium of Light, and were booed off at the end of the game.
The clean sheet was the Black Cats’ sixth of the season, but they seldom looked likely to beat the only team in England yet to record a league win this season.
“Frustration would probably sum up our feelings at this moment,” O’Neill commented afterwards.
“We’ve gone into this with some confidence (after recent results). It might not always have showed but we wanted to try and win this game.”
On-loan left-back Danny Rose was undoubtedly Sunderland’s best player on the night, and O’Neill detected a quality in him lacking in his team-mates.
“Danny’s playing very, very strongly for us,” he said. “He’s playing without any fear. The more players we can have doing that the better. The fear factor I think is probably to do with confidence. I’ve been there myself as a player so I probably know the feeling.
“It’s a brutal sort of thing because you can lose it (confidence) very, very quickly and it takes a long time to gain it. We have to fight through it.”
Summing up the frustration was Lee Cattermole, who surprisingly played after injuring his knee against West Bromwich Albion three days earlier, but lasted a fraction over six minutes before injuring the other knee.
Sunderland were booed off at full-time and O’Neill commented: “Of course there was tension there. They want to come and see us win the game and really perform.”
Sunderland’s next game is at improving Norwich City on Sunday.
Meanwhile, police are investigating an alleged monkey gesture made by a Sunderland supporter towards West Bromwich Albion striker Romelu Lukaku in Saturday’s 4-2 defeat.