Praise for Bristol City as Sunderland boss makes honest admission

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Sunderland and Bristol City battled to a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light and the Black Cats boss was quick to praise the Robins.

Sunderland manager Tony Mowbray has admitted that he likes watching Bristol City after their draw at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

The Robins stretched their unbeaten run to 11 matches as Nahki Wells’ late penalty rescued a point for Nigel Pearson’s side after Jack Clarke opened the scoring on the hour mark. It was City’s first penalty in 469 days and ensured that City would remain unbeaten since the turn of the New Year.

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A statistical look at the match showed that the match was closely fought with the hosts having 54% of the ball and 11 shots with three on target, compared to City who had less possession with nine shots and two landing at Alex Patterson’s goal.

"I think both teams were pretty young, pretty athletic," Mowbray said to the SunderlandEcho in his assessment of the 1-1 draw.

"We could feel their threat and we tried to organise our team to prevent the counter because that’s where a lot of their goals have come from - they nick it in midfield and then break quickly with the athleticism that they have. We tried to stop that and it took a little bit away from our forward momentum, I think. But if you’re overly cavalier you find yourself 2-0 down, so we lost a bit of sting.

"They had spells in the game where they gave us problems but generally I felt we controlled it. We had a fifteen, twenty minute period there [after the goal] where we were in the box for a long time.

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"Nigel has given his young team a lot of belief and I like watching them play. We had our moments and another day we score another goal or two.”

Sunderland, similar to City, operate with a youthful squad, with 21-year-old Dan Neil and French midfielder Eduoard Michut coming up against the experienced Joe Williams and his midfield partner Matty James.

Both teams played a 4-2-3-1 system with on-loan Manchester United youngster providing support to Leeds United loanee Joe Geldhart, whilst Sam Bell was leading the line for City with Guernsey teenager Alex Scott behind him.

The Black Cats boss feels that the experience Neil and Michut had, coming up against James, who has won a Championship winners medal and 42 appearances in the Premier League to his name, will put them in good stead.

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He said: "They had some experienced players in key positions, we had a 19-year-old and 20-year-old in central midfield against two men, one of which has come from Leicester City in the Premier League.

“It’s a great experience for us to play against that knowledge and experience. It was just another challenge for our young team and generally we handled it well. Other teams are allowed to attack us and have a gameplan, that’s football.”

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