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We're not scaredy Cats - Nosworthy
Published : 23 Aug 2009 14:02:32Rss feed
The Black Cats fought back to defeat Blackburn 2-1 at the Stadium of Light on Saturday after being subjected to a physical mauling during the opening 45 minutes. It was the combative approach of central midfield duo Lee Cattermole and Lorik Cana which set the tone for Steve Bruce's men to claw their way back into the game, and Nosworthy is confident that kind of aggression throughout the team will pay dividends throughout the campaign. He said: "That's nice to have, it's nice to instill that. People are getting stuck in and making people feel uncomfortable. "We don't want to be an easy touch in this league, we want this to be a hard place to come. "We want people to come here knowing Sunderland are going to perform well and won't be just easily pushed over and bullied." Sunderland lost no fewer than 10 of their 19 league games on their own pitch last season, and that was a major factor in their white-knuckle ride to Premier League safety by a margin of just two points. Having succumbed to a classy Chelsea outfit last Tuesday night, they knew a second defeat within five days was simply not acceptable. However, for 45 minutes, there looked to be only one likely winner as Blackburn took the game by the scruff of the neck and threatened to have it won by the break. They had already seen a fourth-minute Jason Roberts strike ruled out, much to the annoyance of manager Sam Allardyce, for a foul by Christopher Samba on keeper Marton Fulop, when they deservedly took the lead with 21 minutes gone. The impressive Cattermole was only able to clear Morten Gamst Pedersen's corner as far as Gael Givet on the edge of the penalty area, and the defender's low drive sped through a crowd of players and into the net. Sunderland hit back within 11 minutes, but largely against the run of play, when Kenwyne Jones ran on to Steed Malbranque's ball over the top and rounded keeper Paul Robinson to level. But as they left the field on the whistle, the visitors must have been kicking themselves after dominating the opening period. The Black Cats simply could not cope with the aerial threat they posed from set-pieces in particular with Samba wreaking havoc and Fulop, who went into the game nursing a heel injury, flapping ineffectually at a series of high balls into his box. Bruce later admitted that his half-time team talk had been industrial in nature, but it certainly had the desired effect. His players responded immediately and got their noses in front within nine minutes when Cattermole broke down the left and floated in a cross which simply begged Jones to convert it. The Trinidad and Tobago international duly obliged with a thumping header to win the game, although Samba was unfortunate not to level when he hit the bar, and £6million signing Nikola Kalinic, a first-half substitute for the injured Franco di Santo, passed up a series of glorious opportunities to open his account in England, the last of them with virtually the final kick of the game. Bruce immediately turned his attention to tomorrow night's Carling Cup second round trip to Norwich, still fuming that his players, many of whom played an international game during the midweek before the season got underway, have since been asked to get through four games in 10 days. He said: "Whatever team I put out, we are still capable of going and winning down at Norwich. "The one thing I'm not going to do is get carried away because we have got six points. "There are obviously glaring things that alarmed me today as to why the club has been in the position it has over the last couple of years. "It's not just take six weeks to build that, it's going to take time to make sure we get the team we are looking for." Meanwhile, Allardyce, who lost skipper Ryan Nelsen for several weeks with a recurrence of his medial ligament injury and saw Steve Nzonzi have another strike ruled out for offside against Samba, absolved Kalinic of any blame for his side's defeat on Wearside. He said: "If there is any one person I can forgive today, it was him. "We brought him along, we put him on the bench and we wanted to maybe get him on for 10 or 15 minutes to get a taste of the Premier League. "We had to do it earlier because Franco pulled a hamstring, unfortunately."
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