O´Neill rues errors, Jol wants to keep Dempsey
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill blamed missed chances for his side's 2-1 defeat to Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Goals from Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele condemned O'Neill's men to their 10th defeat on the road this season despite Phil Bardsley's first-half strike.
The former Aston Villa boss was made to rue the opportunities not taken by his side, especially from Fraizer Campbell, who missed a glorious chance in the second half when one-on-one with Mark Schwarzer.
O'Neill told reporters: "I think that we obviously missed some gilt-edged chances and eventually that proved the difference.
"But it's something that we're aware of. Those were relatively simple chances for us and while scoring a goal is still difficult, it might not be that difficult.
"Overall it was an encouraging performance by us. In possession, we passed the ball pretty well today. To concede just after we've scored a great equaliser was particularly galling.
"But overall, we're learning - Ji's (Ji Dong-won's) first start was good, there were some very encouraging signs."
O'Neill admitted his frustration as his side conceded so soon after drawing level, Dembele giving the Cottagers the lead just seconds after Bardsley levelled for Sunderland.
He added: "I think we were maybe distracted (after scoring the equaliser) by the fact that (Stephane) Sessegnon had to change footwear.
"And within 10 seconds of kick-off they've made it 2-1 so it nullifies our goal immediately and sets you on the back foot. We should have done better. We should have dealt with it better."
Fulham manager Martin Jol is hopeful Dempsey will stay at Craven Cottage next season after the midfielder scored another stunning free-kick in the victory.
Dempsey's contract is set to run out in 2013, and clubs will surely be circling for the playmaker this off-season after he notched his 17th Premier League strike of this campaign.
"I want to be positive," Jol told reporters.
"You are talking about the scenario that a couple of players won't be here. If all the players are here (next season) we will only get better.
"(I'm not surprised by Dempsey) in this game, because I know that he will only get better. You talk to him and he wants to get better because of course he's not perfect, no-one is perfect, but he's improving.
"And after the game we had a little banter because we didn't know he could take free-kicks at the start of the season, so he never took them. Then against Bolton, out of nothing he scores, top corner and he did it again today. So it's maybe something for the future, hopefully here.
"He knows what (the fans) think of him. Hopefully it's enough for him to sign his contract."