ALFRED N’Diaye has admitted Sunderland’s players once again let down the club as they passed up a golden opportunity to secure Premier League safety.
Despite leading Southampton with 15 minutes of Sunday’s home match remaining, they failed to see out the win that would have banished relegation as a possibility. Sunderland, not for the first time, didn’t turn up for the first half on a day when they needed to be at it from the whistle.
It wasn’t a good enough performance or result for a club who will be willing Arsenal to take a least a point from Wigan at the Emirates tonight. And N’Diaye (pictured left) didn’t hide from the fact that it was not the performance required on such an important afternoon.
N’Diaye said: “I think 1-1 was not a good result because we did not play well at all. It was not a good performance and we are all very disappointed with how we played on Sunday. We can do much better than that.
“We could have been safe. We did not show enough aggression, which is not like us because we usually don’t play like that.
“We cannot play in a relaxed way. We have to always go out there with a lot of aggression because that is what works for us. We have to fight a lot more than that.
We can now only hope it is enough, although we still have our own destiny in our hands.”
This statement will remain true even if Wigan win in north London.
Only Sunderland, Aston Villa and Wigan can go down, with the other two sides due to meet next Sunday as N’Diaye and his team-mates face a test away to Tottenham.
The French midfielder said: “We have to hope that Arsenal do well against Wigan. Both are very good teams, but Arsenal are going for the Champions League so you would hope that they will get a result.
“If they beat Wigan we are safe. But if they lose, we can still beat Spurs and stay up.
“Wigan have shown what a dangerous side they are, but they are up against one of the best teams in Arsenal so I think it will be difficult for them.
“They have shown so many times though how to beat teams, so it is not over. It is a hard game for Arsenal, but it is a crucial game for both teams, which makes me hope Arsenal will do it.”
Black Cats team-mates John O’Shea, Keiren Westwood and James McClean were yesterday named in Giovanni Trapattoni’s provisional 28-man squad for the Republic of Ireland’s eagerly-anticipated friendly against England at Wembley on May 29.
The 74-year-old Italian is attempting to plot a route to the 2014 World Cup finals, with the match against the Three Lions followed by the visit of Georgia to Dublin on June 2, in preparation for the qualifier against the Faroe Islands at the Aviva Stadium five days later.
Trapattoni and his players will then head for New York and a prestige friendly against Spain at Yankee Stadium on June 11.
However, during their time together at the end of this season, the manager will have one eye on the Group C clashes with Sweden, Austria, Germany and Kazakhstan which will determine their destiny later in the year.
Trapattoni said: “We must consider the positives from our games against Sweden and Austria when preparing for these fixtures. We produced two strong performances and the players have proven that they are working well together.”
IRELAND SQUAD: David Forde (Millwall), Keiren Westwood (Sunderland), Darren Randolph (Motherwell), John O’Shea (Sunderland), Sean St Ledger (Leicester), Damien Delaney (Crystal Palace), Richard Keogh (Derby), Marc Wilson (Stoke), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Stephen Kelly (Reading), Darren O’Dea (Toronto), Paul McShane (Hull), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), James McCarthy (Wigan), Paul Green (Leeds), Jeff Hendrick (Derby), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Anthony Pilkington (Norwich), James McClean (Sunderland), Robbie Brady, David Meyler (both Hull), Andy Keogh (Millwall), Robbie Keane (Los Angeles Galaxy), Shane Long (West Brom), Conor Sammon (Derby), Jon Walters (Stoke), Simon Cox (Nottingham Forest), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich).