Sunderland manager Simon Grayson couldn’t fault his players’ effort and commitment following their first defeat of the season against Leeds United on Saturday.
Goals from Samuel Saiz and Stuart Dallas earned the Whites a 2-0 victory on Wearside but Grayson felt his team could not have given him more. He said: “I don’t think you could fault the players’ effort, commitment and work rate because they were going right to the final whistle.
“The key moments in the game were the difference.
“For 20 minutes, we started the game really well and Grabban’s effort has hit (Liam) Cooper on the head and then hit the bar.
“Unfortunately, they went down the other end and 60/70 seconds later and we are 1-0 down and that was against the run of play. When you look at the course of the game we probably worked hard enough but just didn’t have that bit of quality to win the game.
“It is a possibility that (tiredness) might have played its part,” he continued.
“I don’t think there are many teams in this division who have had as demanding schedule as what we have had. The teams we have been playing against the number of games we have had.
“I could’ve changed it round but I also felt the team we had was capable of getting a performance tonight.
“And what happens when you go a goal down you need an extra spark of quality to get back into the game and unfortunately that’s something we lacked tonight.”
Grayson added: “I couldn’t have asked much more from the players given how hard they have worked.”