Chris Coleman reserves special praise for Sunderland duo after first clean sheet

John O'Shea in action against Burton
John O'Shea in action against Burton

Chris Coleman has paid tribute to long-serving duo John O'Shea and Lee Cattermole after Sunderland finally managed a clean sheet.

It may have taken 19 attempts but Sunderland finally stopped the opposition from scoring this season - and Coleman was keen to hail his defence.

The Black Cats have been shipping goals for fun, with 35 conceded before the trip to face fellow strugglers Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium.

Burton, who have now lost six straight games at home, couldn’t break down a stubborn Sunderland defence, with late goals from James Vaughan and George Honeyman sealing a precious victory for Coleman and the Black Cats.

But keeping out the opposition at the other end was just as important for Coleman & Co. Victory lifted Sunderland off the bottom of the Championship.

And the Sunderland boss has praised his defence, captain John O’Shea and goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter - who has come under intense scrutiny over recent weeks - for their efforts.

Coleman said: “The first clean sheet is brilliant and good for John O’Shea who has been marshalling the back four.

“I have been really impressed with some of the boys in there.

“You have to put yourself in their shoes, it has been so disappointing. That negativity grows, every week when you don’t get a win.

“It gets bigger and bigger, the problem is nobody can come in and help you. You have to deal with it yourself.

“I am pleased for John and the defenders and Robbin the goalkeeper.

“Lee Cattermole sat in front of the back four, second half especially when it was getting stretched he used his experience really well, talking to people, dragging them here and there.

“It is a great clean sheet. We never came for the draw. We came to win."