O'Neill grateful for Mignolet heroics

Martin O'Neill

Martin O'Neill

First published in National Sport © by

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill was "delighted" to still be in the FA Cup after Simon Mignolet produced a stunning late double save to deny Everton.

Mignolet saved from John Heitinga and Nikica Jelavic in quick succession as time ran out in a full-blooded quarter-final clash at Goodison Park that finished 1-1. Sunderland had led early after a superb strike from Phil Bardsley but Everton replied through Tim Cahill and had the better of the chances throughout with Royston Drenthe denied a penalty and hitting the woodwork.

"I think we started the game brilliantly, got the goal and we were playing very well. The equaliser knocked us back, we lost a bit of confidence with it. There was a big surge from the home crowd," said O'Neill.

"I thought the second half could have gone either way but they pressed us more towards the end of the game. I am delighted we are still in the hat, I probably would have taken that at the start of the game.

"I thought it was a magnificent double save, really brilliant. I think if we had been beaten there I would have been really disappointed. I wouldn't have been sure we deserved to be beaten.

"I think on reflection a draw was probably a fair result."

Everton felt they were the more enterprising side and were frustrated at being forced to settle for a draw.

Assistant manager Steve Round said: "We thought we did everything we could in the second half except stick the ball in the net.

"We piled on the pressure and had opportunity after opportunity, culminating in that double save, which was tremendous from their perspective.

"The lads are disappointed in there that we couldn't turn pressure into a goal. It took us a while to get a foothold but the last 20 minutes of the first half and all the second half, I thought we were terrific and unfortunate not to win."

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