Sunderland vs. Stoke City  1 - 1

Article

Mignolet lauds ´dangerous´ Johnson

8 May 2013 15:12

Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has praised team-mate Adam Johnson for his performance in Monday's clash with Stoke.

Paolo Di Canio's side secured a crucial point in their battle against relegation from the Premier League by salvaging a 1-1 draw despite going a man down.

And, after Johnson was among the hosts' outstanding performers at the Stadium of Light, Mignolet has spoken of the former Manchester City wideman's "spark".

"Adam played really well and created a lot of chances," the Belgian told the club's official website.

"He worked really hard not only in possession but also when Stoke had the ball and it's not very easy with 10 men.

"He kept running and they deserve a lot of credit for that.

"We know Adam has got that creativity to spark something in the middle of the pitch and if he can get the ball at his feet he can be dangerous, not just from his crossing, but also scoring goals."

Mignolet went on to explain how Di Canio had lifted his players with the Wearside outfit 1-0 down and a man light against Tony Pulis' side.

"We didn't start the game as we wanted to; we conceded an early goal and then afterwards with 10 men it was even more difficult," he added.

"A couple of the lads' heads went down at half-time and, as you know, when you're 1-0 behind with 10 men and it’s a home game you want the three points so it was going to be very difficult.

"The gaffer tried to lift our heads and tried to give us more confidence and I think second-half we did our best and worked really hard.

"We stuck at it and tried to do our best; we battled really hard in the second half, together with the crowd - they gave us a lift.

"I think in the end we definitely deserved the point."

Article

Johnson: Sunderland rewarded for hard work

7 May 2013 18:09

Sunderland winger Adam Johnson believes his side fully deserved their share of the points from Monday's 1-1 draw with Stoke.

The hosts were reduced to 10 men not long after going 1-0 down in the first half, as Craig Gardner was dismissed for a dangerous lunge on Charlie Adam.

But Paolo Di Canio's side pulled one back through John O'Shea and could arguably have won the match after dominating the chances in the closing stages.

"It's always nice to get a standing ovation because when you’ve played well it makes you feel good, and I’m just delighted that we’ve come back and got a point under difficult circumstances," Johnson told the club's official website.

"It was difficult going down to 10 men but everyone worked so hard and it paid off in the end; we got our rewards for all our hard work.

"I can’t really remember what happened (for the goal) it happened quickly but it was the instinctive finish of a striker – it was a massive goal for us."

Sunderland moved three points clear of the relegation zone on Monday, and Johnson is hopeful his side can continue their ascent up the table when they meet Southampton at the weekend.

"It’s a big game on Sunday; obviously if we can play like that with 10 men, we’ve got an extra man for the game on Sunday so we will go into that full of confidence."

Article

Pulis: Sunderland red cost Stoke

7 May 2013 02:54

Tony Pulis has blamed the dismissal of Sunderland captain Craig Gardner for Sunderland's poor second half in a 1-1 draw on Monday.

Pulis' Stoke side moved six points clear of the English Premier League's relegation zone with a point gained away to Sunderland but the 55-year-old claimed Stoke could have won but for a timid performance after the break at the Stadium of Light.

Stoke took the lead in the ninth minute through Jonathan Walters and looked likely to extend their advantage when Sunderland's Gardner was shown a straight red card for a two-footed tackle on Charlie Adam 11 minutes before half-time.

But Pulis argued his central midfielders Steven N'Zonzi and Dean Whitehead, who recieved yellow cards before the break, spent the second half worried referee Lee Mason would find an excuse to send them off.

"Obviously the sending off affected us as much as anything," Pulis told thisisstaffordshire.co.uk.

"I thought Deano and Steven were brilliant first half and really dictated the game in midfield.

"But in the second half they looked like two players worried to death about a mistimed challenge that could have seen them sent off.

"That gave the impetus to Sunderland a little bit.

"It's disappointing but I understand.

"You've got to give Sunderland credit second half as well, although they had nothing to lose."

Pulis praised his players for taking Stoke to the verge of Premier League safety and a sixth successive season in England's top flight, while several other clubs remain embroiled in the relegation battle with two games remaining.

"I'm absolutely delighted to have come away with 41 points, we're 11th in the Premier League," Pulis said.

"People get carried away with Stoke City and everything else but we're 11th with two games to go.

"If we pick up a couple of wins, it would equal our record number of points in the Premier League and I hope we can finish in the top half, which would be absolutely brilliant for us."

Article

Di Canio hails Sunderland´s spirit

6 May 2013 23:56

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio was proud of the spirit his side showed to come from a goal down to earn a crucial draw with Stoke City.

The Italian watched on in dismay as Jonathan Walters scored an early goal for Stoke and then saw Craig Gardner sent off for a poor challenge on Charlie Adam.

Things looked bad for the home side at the break but Di Canio's team talk appeared to inspire his players as they raised their game in the second half to earn a point through a John O'Shea strike.

"A fantastic effort, I'm very pleased because (I think) this point will be crucial at the end of the season," he told Sky Sports on Monday.

"I tried to motivate them (at half-time), I saw a few faces that were down but playing at home if you don't concede a second goal you

can stay in the game.

"There was only one team in the second half but it is obvious we have to

stop what we did last week and this week (having men sent off), otherwise we are

going to put ourselves in trouble. We have to help ourselves."

The dismissal of Gardner came just as Sunderland appeared to be getting back into the game but rather than derail their progress Di Canio felt they continued to improve against an imposing Stoke side.

"I am very happy in the way we were in the first half after Craig was sent off," he added. "It was a very tough moment for us. They are a very physical presence with these enormous lads.

"The second half and the last 15 minutes of the first half I saw the team I want to see, playing football with enthusiasm and the shape was fantastic, I think we fully deserved the point, maybe something more."

The Italian refused to comment on Gardner's sending off, instead explaining that he intended to keep looking forward and plan for their final three games with the players that he does have available.

"I'm not the kind of manager that will cry or make an excuse because the job is done," he continued.


"Stephane is out, obviously Craig will be out, I only want to focus on the players that I can select to play.

"I hope we don't make other mistakes like we did. I love the passion, I love the heart but to improve we need to be capable of handling ourselves."

Their next fixture is against fellow strugglers Southampton and Di Canio believes it will be one of the most important games the club has played in a long time, and that if they win their Premier League status could be secured for next season.

"It is a Champions League final for us," he said. "It will be crucial for our destiny.

"We have to do everything to win this game, because if we win I presume we are going to stay up."

Article

Premier League: Sunderland 1 Stoke City 1

6 May 2013 22:53

John O'Shea's second-half equaliser rescued a valuable point for 10-man Sunderland as they drew with Stoke City.

After going behind to an early Jonathan Walters goal it looked like being an uncomfortable evening for Paolo Di Canio's side, and their task was made even harder when Craig Gardner was sent off.

But a spirited second-half fightback saw Sunderland test Asmir Begovic on a number of occasions before getting their reward just after the hour when O'Shea turned in a Sebastian Larsson corner.

Di Canio was forced into one change following the suspension of Stephane Sessegnon, so James McClean was handed a start while Jack Colback replaced Phil Bardsley.

Marc Wilson and Dean Whitehead returned for the visitors in place of Andy Wilkinson and Glenn Whelan, with neither of the players replaced involved in the squad at all.

Stoke took the lead with just nine minutes gone as Walters rose to meet a Charlie Adam corner. The striker's initial header was blocked but he reacted quickly to pounce on the loose ball to fire beyond Simon Mignolet from five yards.

The early setback sparked the hosts into life but they were unable to test Begovic in the Stoke goal with the chances they created.

Gardner blasted a free-kick miles over the crossbar and when Adam Johnson broke through the middle of the defence he too wasted his chance.

As the half came to an end the task in front of Di Canio's side became even tougher. Adam broke out of the Stoke half on the left-hand side but as he approached the halfway line Gardner mistimed a challenge and caught him on the shin with his studs.

Referee Lee Mason immediately awarded the free-kick and issued the midfielder with a red card.

Di Canio's half-time team talk lifted the mood of his players and almost from the restart they were much more positive, Johnson testing Begovic for the first time with a good long-range effort.

After Cameron Jerome had wasted a chance to double Stoke's lead Sunderland went very close to equalising as O'Shea's header was cleared off the line by Whitehead.

The defender's luck changed four minutes as he drew his side level with a back-post finish.

Larsson's corner flicked off the head of Whitehead at the front post, O'Shea managed to get ahead of Ryan Shawcross and diverted the ball through the legs of Begovic for his second goal of the season.

As the game appeared to be drifting towards a draw both sides had decent chances to secure all three points.

Whitehead fired a great chance from the edge of the area straight at Mignolet and Danny Rose saw a chance from the edge of the area graze the outside of the post.

The result moves Sunderland up to 15th and three points above the relegation zone.

Article

Pulis targets top-half finish

3 May 2013 17:58

Stoke boss Tony Pulis is targeting two wins and a draw from his side's remaining Premier League games to secure a top-10 finish.

Pulis' men have won their last two games to move onto 40 points and travel to relegation-threatened Sunderland on Monday, although the Welshman has warned his side that they are not safe just yet and is looking for a strong end to a campaign that has seen Stoke flirt with danger for much of its duration.

"We’ve got 40 points and good goal difference which is what we wanted," he said. "Now is the time to push on. we have to do that because mathematically we’re still not safe.

"We need to get as many points as possible and it would be lovely to finish the season with a few more wins.

"If

we can win two of our last three and get a draw we could end up in the

top half of the Premier League, which would be a great season for us."

Stoke will travel to Wearside with a number of fitness issues. Marc Wilson is struggling with a hamstring injury, while Pulis also cast doubt over Andy Wilkinson and Glenn Whelan's availability for the trip to the Stadium of Light.

"Marc is still a concern for us and so are Andy and Glenn after they came off on Saturday," he said.

"We’ve

got three people who we’re not sure of and we could certainly do with

one of the defenders being fit. Fingers crossed, but at the moment those

three are a concern."

Article

Di Canio bemoans ´relaxed´ Sunderland performance

3 May 2013 17:27

Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio feels his side were too laid back in their midweek defeat at Aston Villa.

The Italian's side were beaten 6-1 by Villa, despite having entered the match in a good run of form, coinciding with the sacking of Martin O'Neill and the appointment of Di Canio.

However, the former Swindon Town boss said his team approached the game too lightly and were overly relaxed.

He has urged them to bounce back against Stoke City on Monday at the Stadium of Light.

"After two good wins, and the results we saw for Wigan and Newcastle (last weekend), we relaxed too much," he said.

"It's clear that is true. We have to remember that if we don't perform like we can, we can receive a big slap every time.

"We must make sure we drop back to how we were over the previous three weeks."

Di Canio experienced similar situations as a player and said he understood why and how it happens.

However, with his Sunderland still involved in the fight to avoid relegation, the Italian said it was not something which could be tolerated.

"When I was a player, we won an important game against a top side, and then the week after lost 7-1," he said.

"I don't accept it as a manager, but I know it can happen. It's not acceptable, especially in this moment of the season.

"People say we need three points, but in the end we have to get them. No one can give out the guarantee.

"We have to make sure we don't repeat it."

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25