‘They were lucky today’.
Joey Barton had tongue firmly in cheek at times after this 1-1 draw, also joking that Newcastle would have secured a 30,000 attendance had they been in League One.
The Fleetwood Town boss was happy to play the pantomime villain but he also praised Sunderland as a ‘good club’ and expects them to challenge for the league under Jack Ross.
Barton was adamant, however, that his team were the better side.
He also said that Adam Matthews should have been shown a second yellow for the foul that handed Fleetwood a second-half penalty which was subsequently saved by Jon McLaughlin.
“I said in the build-up that I thought we were the better side and anyone who was here today, just watch it back,” he said.
“We had the best chances, a penalty, good save by the keeper but a confusion in the build-up from our perspective.
“They’re a good side, I’m not taking anything away from them. They had 15 minutes before the break and a 10-minute spell at the end where our keeper has had to make a good save, we’ve had to put bodies on the line.
“It was a really good game, played in the right spirit.
“The ref was good, although he should have sent their lad off when he gave away a penalty, he was on a yellow. Technically it should have been off.
“But look it was a good game, good atmosphere,” he added.
“It was a fantastic occasion, it’s a good football club. I’ve enjoyed a healthy rivalry with them over the years, it’s sad to seem them in the state they’ve been in but Jack Ross has done a fantastic job so far.
“The club seems to be moving in the right direction.
“But I thought we were the better side, Sunderland fans will never admit it because of my connections, but they’ll go home knowing we’re a proper side.
“And they have a proper side too, I’ve said to the lads, this could be a six-pointer come May.”
Jack Ross responded by saying that both sides had good chances to win the game.