JACK Colback accepted his share of the blame for Sunderland’s latest defeat, then quickly focused on beating fellow strugglers Bolton Wanderers.
Manager Steve Bruce singled out Lee Cattermole’s wastefulness in front of goal as a key moment in Sunday’s 2-1 loss at Arsenal.
The midfielder had a header from three yards with the scores level, but was denied by Wojciech Szczesny.
In his modesty, the Pole agreed with Bruce that Cattermole should have scored. It was harsh on the Black Cats’ captain, who directed the ball well wide of the goalkeeper.
If the post-match comments masked an outstanding save, the incident camouflaged Colback’s miss ten minutes later.
He failed to keep down a volley when Sebastian Larsson nodded Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross back to him in an equally promising position.
The midfielder thought both chances were critical in what, contrary to the early evidence, proved an extremely tight game.
Colback said: “I should have scored for one and there was Catts’ header – the goalkeeper made a great save.
“These are the sorts of chances we need to put away at a place like Arsenal.
“If you miss chances like that you are going to struggle.
“We thought we had done enough to come away with at least a point, but Arsenal had a lot of the ball.
“We created chances ourselves, and we are very disappointed to come away with a defeat.”
Weekend wins for West Bromwich Albion and Bolton Wanderers made Sunderland’s position at the bottom end of the table more precarious, even if Colback is paying more attention
to the top half. Only goal difference separates the Black Cats from Bolton, either side of the Premier League safety line.
The sides meet at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday and Colback is demanding a second win of the season.
He added: “We should be picking up a result against the likes of Bolton, we went there last year and won and the year before.
“We will be going there with confidence we can take three points again. We need to pick up points now because the gap is getting bigger and bigger between us and the top ten, which is where we want to be.”
Whereas at Arsenal the Black Cats were able to prey on a side struggling to meet expectations, Bolton were buoyed by their first league win this season – at Wigan Athletic on Saturday.
“You go into every game feeling under pressure, the fans want to win every game and that is to be expected,” said Colback (below).
“It has been a tricky start but a few of the games could easily have gone the other way, and it would have been a different story.
“Nobody is panicking, everybody is calm and everybody is completely behind the manager. We can turn it around.
“The gaffer reiterated before the (Arsenal) game, do not give them any lift because they are under a bit of pressure themselves.
“However, we could not have wished for a worse start (conceding to Robin van Persie after 29 seconds).
“We worked hard to get back in the game at 1-1 and we worked hard in the second half, but it was disappointing to give away so many free-kicks on the edge of the box and finally we were punished.”
Colback was recalled to the starting line-up for the first time in four games at Arsenal, selected ahead of summer signing Craig Gardner in a five-man midfield.
He added: “The gaffer brought in a lot of players over the summer and there is lots of quality around.
“I was always going to be up for the battle to get some games.
“I thought I did well in pre-season and the manager has given me the chance. All I want to do is start matches and improve.”