Keane praises players
Roy Keane praised his players battling 1-1 display against Fulham at the Stadium of Light.
By Steve Pass
Last Updated: 27/10/07 6:42pm
A relieved Sunderland boss Roy Keane praised his players' battling display after they came from a goal down to salvage a point against Fulham at the Stadium of Light.
Kenwyne Jones netted the vital equaliser in the 86th minute, which cancelled out a Simon Davies opener in the 32nd minute.
It really was a game of two halves as Fulham dominated a nervous Sunderland in the first-half, but the Black Cats looked a different team in the second period.
Their come-back was even more commendable as they had been reduced to ten men when Greg Halford was sent-off in the 67th minute for a second bookable offence.
And they could then have won the game deep into injury time but substitute Anthony Stokes shot straight at keeper Antti Niemi from point-blank range.
Despite the wasted chance, Sunderland boss Roy Keane believed it was a point gained, rather than two lost.
"The first half we were disappointing, our passing wasn't up to scratch, our energy levels certainly weren't there. I suppose I was glad to get them in at half-time," he said.
When asked what made the difference in the second-half, he said: "Maybe the fact we went down to ten men and we thought we'd have to have a go at them.
"I thought our three substitutions had a big difference, a big influence on the game when they came on."
Keane revealed goal-scorer Jones had not been able to train during the week because of a slight calf problem and he only had 16 first-team players available, a lot of whom were carrying knocks.
"Credit to Kenwyne, especially when we went down to ten men. He was up there on his own but he was a real handful again. He was fantastic today again," said Keane, who praised all his players for their battling display.
"I was delighted with them. The character they keep showing doesn't surprise me...we'll need that between now and the end of the season," said Keane, who also praised the fans for staying behind the team, saying they were 'a different class today'.
He concluded: "On another day we could have won it, their keeper made two great saves.
"When you're one-nil down with 20 minutes to go and you're down to ten men, I suppose you look at it as a point gained rather than two dropped."