x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Sunderland 0 Swansea City 0

Martin O'Neill admitted he was disappointed with his side's performance after being left on the back foot by the English League Cup finalists.

Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet slides to block Danny Graham's attempt on goal.
Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet slides to block Danny Graham's attempt on goal.

Michael Laudrup said he was pleased to see his side keep their focus on the Premier League after their recent English League Cup heroics had dominated the headlines.

Swansea City booked their place in next month's final of the Capital One Cup against lowly Bradford City with a semi-final defeat over Chelsea.

But the Swansea manager waken to see what effect it would have on the players' league focus after last night's 0-0 draw at Sunderland.

"In Swansea, everybody since then has been talking only about the Chelsea game and the final on February 24," he said afterwards.

"Absolutely no one has spoken one word about Sunderland and the league game today, so it was very important for me to see the reaction from the squad, and that's why I am really pleased."

In a classic game of two halves, the visitors failed to make the most of their dominance during the opening 45 minutes, while Sunderland were equally unable to capitalise on a much-improved display after the break.

Titus Bramble denied Sunderland transfer target Danny Graham - booed by the home supporters for his admission of being a Newcastle fan - an injury time winner as the match petered out to a stalemate at the Stadium of Light.

Steven Fletcher and Stephane Sessegnon were virtual spectators as Sunderland were at times left chasing shadows by Swansea's passing and movement.

Afterwards Martin O'Neill, the Sunderland manager, admitted he was unhappy with his side's performance.

"We played very disappointingly in the game," he said.

"Coming on the back of a couple of great wins, I thought we were going into the game with plenty of confidence, and also with the weekend off, I thought we would be refreshed and really ready to go.

"But other than a spell just after half-time for a while, I thought Swansea, possibly without looking all that fantastically dangerous themselves, really dictated a lot of the game."

O'Neill's focus turns to strengthening the club's strike force before tomorrow's transfer deadline.

He said: "We have made bids for a couple of players, but we didn't make them overnight, we made them some time ago.

"Of course, it's absolutely the prerogative of the team to whom we have put these bids in either to accept or not accept as the case may be.

"We wouldn't be the only club in that sort of position, this idea that we are waiting until January 31.

"There may be a host of signings in the next 48 hours, I don't know, but there's every possibility because that seems to have been the way of it in the last number of years."


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