Crystal Palace vs Sunderland: Gus Poyet hails Black Cats' character for recovering from yet another own-goal calamity

Sunderland went ahead through Steven Fletcher's effort but a Wes Brown own-goal threatened to de-rail Poyet's side only for them to triumph

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The Independent Football

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet hailed the mentality of his side after they recovered from another own goal blow to win 3-1 against 10-man Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Having seen his side lose 8-0 at Southampton a fortnight ago, Poyet was unable to lead them to a recovery at home to Arsenal last weekend, but on Monday evening his players gave him the grit and determination he felt were necessary to turn things around.

They rode their luck to do so as Palace should have been awarded a penalty in the opening seconds, but referee Phil Dowd was unmoved when Santiago Vergini brought down Fraizer Campbell.

Steven Fletcher then headed the Black Cats ahead before the break, only for a third own goal in as many games to draw the Eagles level as substitute Wes Brown turned Campbell's back-heel past Costel Pantilimon.

 

But the visitors showed resolve as Jordi Gomez and Fletcher scored either side of a red card for Palace skipper Mile Jedinak to wrap up a much-needed victory.

"It was a tough 10 or 15 minutes (after the own goal)," Poyet said.

"They had four or five corners in a row and it was difficult to cope. We had everybody back defending and fighting for each other and doing the part we don't enjoy - the ugly side of football - but you need to do it for the three points.

"Wes doesn't know how it happened, but it was a key moment. With the difficulties of the last few weeks it would have been easy for the team to go weak and flat, and the players deserve credit."

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Sunderland celebrate the win over Crystal Palace

It was a case of style over substance for Sunderland, who moved above Palace with the win, but Poyet insisted that did not bother him.

"We needed a win somehow," he said.

"It was about winning. We all like performances we can talk about, but today it was about winning.

"Today was a game where we knew we would suffer for periods and it would be ugly for a few moments and when you have the chance you have to take the ball down and play your game."

Palace boss Neil Warnock was forced to bite his tongue after once again being left frustrated by refereeing decisions.

Already facing a Football Association hearing having questioned the motives of the referee in the recent defeat to Chelsea, Warnock also vented his disapproval at the decisions which he believes went against his side at Hull and West Brom.

But the 65-year-old wanted to keep the focus on his team and not be drawn into criticising Dowd's performance.

"I'm just disappointed for the lads," he said.

"We put in a really good shift and I was really proud. On another night things go for us. It hurts like hell and it hurts the players as well. We have got to regroup and play ourselves through it. At the moment we feel everything is against us.

"It (the penalty claim) was 35 seconds in - they could have been down to 10 men. Those decisions change games. All we want is consistency and we want top-class refs to get top-class decisions right, and it isn't happening for us."

PA

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