Sunderland’s players always believed they could recover from a terrible start at Southampton, according to John O’Shea – yet, even after trailing 2-0 after 31 minutes, Vito Mannone claimed his side were unhappy with a point.
The Black Cats were dreadful in the first 45 minutes on Saturday, but could call on memories of coming from 2-0 down to draw with Cardiff City three weeks earlier.
Captain O’Shea said: “It gives you belief with the way we’re dealing with things at the moment. I think in the second half you saw what we wanted to do in the first.
“You look at Southampton as a team and the players they have and we probably stood off them a bit too much.
“We created better chances and Johnno (Adam Johnson) scored a great goal again,”
Johnson equalised with 18 minutes to go and Artur Boruc made numerous saves to deny Sunderland a first Premier League home win since November 10.
Goalkeeper Mannone said: “We really put pressure on them in the last ten minutes and we could have even got a winner,.
“The offside (Fabio Borini had a second goal chalked off after 65 minutes) was unlucky.
“We are unhappy with a point and that demonstrates how well we did in the second half.
“However, any point we gain now is massive, especially against a big club like Southampton, because people maybe don’t expect us to win these games.
“It could be very important for us in a few months’ time.”
Both players denied Wednesday’s League Cup semi-final second leg at Manchester United was a factor in the poor display.
O’Shea added: “The manager stressed beforehand how big this game was for us.
“We had a good week training but whatever it was we had a slow start, we were sluggish and making wrong decisions, giving the ball away cheaply. It was like, ‘Oh my God, what’s going on?’
“Thankfully we got the goal when we did and it just gave everyone a bit of belief. That Borini goal was big for us.”