Sunderland’s John O’Shea: That’s the level of performance we have to repeat

John O'Shea in action for Sunderland during their 2-2 draw at the Stadium of Light against West Ham United.
John O'Shea in action for Sunderland during their 2-2 draw at the Stadium of Light against West Ham United.

John O’Shea says Sunderland have set a benchmark of application that they need to maintain if they are to avoid the drop.

The surrender of a two-goal lead against West Ham, when Sunderland had the opportunities to put the game to bed, left the managerless Black Cats still without a Premier League win to their names heading into the two-week international break.

If we do that, we know we’ll cause teams problems, as we did in the first half on Saturday.

However, the first half display was as good as anything Sunderland have produced in more than a season and captain O’Shea knows that cannot afford to be a one-off if a team now lying five points adrift of safety are to extend their Premier League existence.

“At Sunderland now, you have to have a level of attitude that you show every game - not just turning it on and off,” said O’Shea.

“We need that every game.

“If we do that, we know we’ll cause teams problems, as we did in the first half on Saturday.

“But that’s the minimum that the lads have to maintain.”

Sunderland at least managed to avoid a fourth successive league defeat to move off the bottom of the table after Jeremain Lens’ sending-off for a second yellow card had put the hosts on the back foot.

But there was still a feeling of two points dropped in the Sunderland dressing room after Carl Jenkinson’s goal on the stroke of half-time gave the Hammers a lifeline in a game where they had been completely outplayed for 45 minutes.

“It’s points dropped from our first half performance, yeah,” admitted O’Shea.

“If it had been 4-0, it wouldn’t have been an unfair reflection on our first half.

“We missed a great couple of chances and then West Ham get into it on the stroke of half-time, and then there’s the red card.

“From a game where you’re in such control, played great stuff, scored good goals, it’s one of those things.

“You know in the Premier League that it’s never done and dusted, but everything was so positive. At least when we went down to 10 men, we managed to hang on to a point because West Ham with the places they’ve gone and won this season, are a good team.

“Jeremain scored a great goal and then got the red mist with the tackle.

“There was no need to do it really, when you’re on a yellow too.

“He’ll learn from that, but then the lads dug deep and there were lots of positives.”