JOHN O’Shea says Sunderland have overcome the fatigue factor before and they need to do it again at Liverpool this weekend.
Sunderland’s run of four successive Stadium of Light victories against Manchester City came to an abrupt end last night after the reigning Premier League champions came from behind to coast to a 4-1 win.
The exertions of last weekend’s goalless draw against Chelsea had clearly taken their toll on Gus Poyet’s side, who looked heavy-legged and are unlikely to be any fresher when they head to Liverpool this Saturday.
But after Sunderland won at Chelsea last season, three days after drawing at Man City, O’Shea insists the Black Cats have proved they can overcome the mental and psychological hurdles stemming from a hefty effort.
The Sunderland captain told the Gazette: “I don’t want to harp back to last season, but we did it at tough places then.
“Physically we have to be able to cope with it. You’re a professional player.
“Psychologically it’s a test as well and one we have to come through.
“But we all fought last season to play games like Liverpool at Anfield, so we have to look forward to it.
“Liverpool have had a couple of dogged wins, but hopefully we can put them under pressure and take advantage.”
O’Shea felt the turning point of last night’s defeat was Sunderland’s failure to hold onto their lead longer than a couple of minutes.
Connor Wickham’s fortuitous second league goal of the campaign had broken the deadlock, but the magnificent Sergio Aguero equalised immediately before City gained the ascendancy.
“It was a bit of a fortuitous goal, but Connor was putting them under pressure and got a bit of luck,” said O’Shea.
“We needed to keep them out for just a bit longer to frustrate them, but they got straight back into it with a good goal.
“They bounced back too quickly and that really deflated us.
“He’s (Aguero) having a good season and unfortunately he carried that on last night.”
O’Shea refused to blame rusty central defensive partner Sebastian Coates for the defeat after the on-loan Liverpool man made his Premier League debut for Sunderland, with Wes Brown still recovering from a knock sustained against Chelsea.
“We needed to be in the position better to help Seb,” added the Republic of Ireland international.
“I needed to be across more, Lee (Cattermole) could have done too.
“There’s enough of us to not pick out individuals.
“We didn’t have enough of our cover and shape that we had on Saturday and that led to their goals.
“They took them well and created them well, but we were able to stop them on Saturday.
“But they are the champions, they’re a decent team and we have to move on.”