Swansea's cool design unpicked by O'Neill

Sunderland 2 Swansea 0

The Stadium of Light

Brendan Rodgers was standing in a corridor, dealing with more platitudes for his free-passing team, and smiling. "I think it is great for the public here at Sunderland to see us," the Swansea manager said. "They have been wondering what this team everyone is talking about is all about, and now they have seen. We were wonderful. Our objective at the start of this season was to stay in the league but I believe we can finish in the top 10."

In the tunnel, Michael Vorm was warming to the same theme, talking total football. "People in Holland would love the way we play," said the Swansea goalkeeper. "Obviously I am known in Holland and people do watch the Premier League.

"Now they follow much more and all my fans who are texting me and talk to me tell me how much they are enjoying the way we play. When they come over, they enjoy the games and make comparisons with our national team. If we continue to play this way we will be fine, and I think we are winning friends because not many teams in the Premier League play this way and it suits me the best." It was easy to forget that Swansea had lost. Even Martin O'Neill, the Sunderland manager, was a little apologetic. "I hope I don't sound like we've lost 5-0."

It was a strange old afternoon. There was 68 per cent possession for the visitors in the opening half and more of the same after the interval. It was hard not to admire the belief in doing it the right way for a club small on budget and height but large on ideals and style.

Except it was Sunderland who ended the day in the top half of the Premier League. O'Neill has picked a plan for each game he has been in charge. Again he found the winning formula.

"We watched Swansea on the tapes and they keep the ball very well," said the defender Wes Brown. "We pressed at times and won the ball back, but that was basically our plan. Once we got to our own half we all got together and blocked it up and tried to counter attack. When we got the ball, it was time to break and we did that well, but we all had to go together, which we did."

For all that, it boiled down to two moments of brilliance, one in each half, first from Stéphane Sessègnon, a brilliant curling shot into the top corner, and then from the substitute Craig Gardner, his 30-yard half volley beating Vorm five minutes from time. "When you pay that kind of money for Sessègnon and Gardner they will come up with moments of quality," said Rodgers. Those two cost £11m.

Match Details

Sunderland: MIGNOLET 6/10; BARDSLEY 7; O'SHEA 6; BROWN 7; RICHARDSON 7; LARSSON 7; CATTERMOLE 7; VAUGHAN 6; McCLEAN 6; SESSEGNON 8; BENDTNER 3

Swansea: VORM 6; TAYLOR 7; WILLIAMS 7; CAULKER 6; RANGEL 6; SIGURDSSON 7; ALLEN 7; BRITTON 7; SINCLAIR 8; GRAHAM 6; DYER 8

Scorers: Sunderland Sessegnon 14, Gardner 85.

Substitutes: Sunderland Wickham 6 (Bendtner, 12), Gardner (Vaughan, 79), Elmohamady (Larsson, 89). Swansea McEachran 5 (Sigurdsson, 66), Routledge (Britton, 78). Booked: Sunderland None. Swansea None.

Man of the match Dyer. Match rating 6/10.

Possession: Sunderland 37% Swansea 63%.

Attempts on target: Sunderland 2 Swansea 4.

Referee C Foy (Merseyside).

Attendance 36,904.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
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

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world