Sunderland can’t blame ref for Spurs defeat

Sunderland's Steven Fletcher shows the strain during the Premier League match between Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur at the Stadium of Light
Sunderland's Steven Fletcher shows the strain during the Premier League match between Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur at the Stadium of Light
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JOHN O’Shea says Sunderland cannot hide behind the excuse of another refereeing clanger.

Sunderland, who saw Wes Brown ludicrously sent off at Stoke City a fortnight ago, should have been awarded a second half penalty in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Spurs after referee Lee Mason missed a clear handball by substitute Sandro.

O’Shea had a clear view of the incident and led the protests to an unmoved Mason.

But after Spurs created a host of second half opportunities and struck the woodwork twice, Black Cats skipper O’Shea is not dwelling on the incident.

“It’s done and dusted,” he said.

“I was right behind it and it was fairly clear to me, but we have to move on.

“Tottenham had plenty of chances in the second half as well.

“They could have won the game by a bigger margin.”

It was O’Shea’s inadvertent contribution which was to prove the game’s decisive moment after deflecting Moussa Dembele’s cross beyond Vito Mannone – the fifth own goal Sunderland have conceded in nine games.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s unlucky or not,” said the 32-year-old.

“I could have gone over and helped Jack (Colback) a bit quicker and stopped the player going past him.

“There are things we need to be doing collectively better and we have to start taking responsibility to do those things and get points on the board.

“They say these things go against you, but you still have to look at yourselves individually and collectively to make sure you cut these things out and keep clean sheets.

“That’s when you pick up the three points.”

Sunderland remained five points adrift of safety, despite the defeat, yet relegation rivals Norwich, Fulham, Stoke and Crystal Palace all secured crucial victories over the weekend.

O’Shea added: “There’s a little gap there and we need to close it. The next few weeks are really crucial.

“It’s every game now we need to get points from.

“Hopefully we can get on a run sooner than later and get out of this position.”