Sbragia vents frustrations as Sunderland blow advantage

Sunderland 1 Tottenham 1

In its own way football is as frustrating as golf, it just doesn't get the credit. Wearside staged its own Open on Saturday and everyone struggled with the gusts sweeping in from the North Sea. At its end, there were expressions of annoyance and relief that told of a rough afternoon. At least no one lost.

Sunderland's manager of 14 weeks, Ricky Sbragia, was foremost in vocalising this irritation, though during the game his opposite number, Harry Redknapp, could be seen swearing on the touchline at a Gordon Ramsay rate. Management does this to grown men, but by the time they make it to the microphone usually a sense of restraint grips them. Not on Saturday. Sbragia named names. Chief culprits were his strikers Kenwyne Jones and Djibril Cissé, who would surely both be on the bench next time around, if Sunderland had the squad for it.

After Sunderland had taken a third-minute lead through Kieran Richardson the home midfield caressed the ball around in a manner that suggested it could be a big day for the club. But when the ball was shuttled forward to Jones and Cissé, back it came. Relentlessly.

"God. Football, eh?" began Sbragia. "We told them [Jones and Cissé] at half-time and at the beginning of the game. We spoke about the importance of retaining the ball. The first four balls that went up, we lost possession. Three went to Djib and he gave it away. He's paid to retain the ball. That's what he's paid to do and he hasn't done it."

"Djib" was replaced on 74 minutes; Jones, the subject of a £16m bid from Tottenham in January, played like he thought that was way too much.

Then there was Spurs' equaliser. It came in the 89th minute, from a Sunderland corner. Sbragia was yelling that it be taken short, that time be wasted. The ball was hit into the box, cleared and five seconds later was stroked into the other net by Robbie Keane. "To concede from a corner-kick is absolutely abysmal," Sbragia said. "How long do we tell them? Christ, I might have to send a note out to them. They'll have to write it down on their hands – 'if we get a corner in the last minute, play it short'."

Home ire was stoked by Ledley King's clear pull on Jones at the corner, but then part of Redknapp's infuriating 89 minutes was a penalty box handball by Sunderland's Phil Bardsley.

Then there were the moments when Redknapp clearly thought that his missus would have done better than Aaron Lennon or Darren Bent.

But Keane is back. For £20m Liverpool gave him 19 appearances, an exercise in frustration. "I can't score goals if I am not on the pitch," he said after his second in four days.

"This is where he's at home, where his heart is," Redknapp added. "You have to feel like you're appreciated in life and he knows how much I wanted to bring him here. The fans have welcomed him back and he wants to repay that. A bit of love, that's what it's about."

Sbragia said: "I need a beer, a couple of beers, flipping hell."

Goals: Richardson (3) 1-0; Keane (89) 1-1.

Sunderland (4-4-2) Fulop; Bardsley, Ben-Haim, Collins, McCartney; Malbranque, Whitehead, Richardson (Leadbitter, 84) Reid (Edwards, 83); Cissé (Murphy, 74) Jones. Substitutes not used: Gordon (gk), Davenport, McShane, Healy.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2) Gomes; Corluka (Pavlyuchenko, 83) Woodgate, King, Chimbonda; Lennon, Jenas (Huddlestone, 63) Palacios (Bentley, 72) Modric; Bent, Keane. Substitutes not used: Cudicini (gk), Dawson, O'Hara, Zokora.

Booked: Sunderland Richardson, McCartney, Bardsley; Tottenham Woodgate, Corluka.

Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).

Man of the match: Richardson.

Attendance: 37,894.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea