- Premier League
Cattermole: No sympathy at Hangeland red
Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole stopped short of expressing sympathy for dismissed defender Brede Hangeland after the Black Cats triumphed 3-1 over 10-man Fulham on Sunday.
The two sides could not be separated until Hangeland saw red for a two-footed tackle on Cattermole on the half hour mark, with Steven Fletcher managing to edge the Black Cats ahead after the break.
Mladen Petric equalised in the 62nd minute but goals from Carlos Cuellar and Stephan Sessegnon sealed Sunderland's second win of the Premier League season.
Cattermole, no stranger to red cards himself, told Sky Sports: "At the time I thought it was two-footed and the rules say that you can't do that. I don't think it was too bad but you can't do that.''
The victory saw the Black Cats move three points clear of the relegation zone, and Cattermole thinks Martin O'Neill's side are starting to harvest the fruit of their labours.
"It's massive,'' he added. "Every game's a tough game and we've found ourselves playing well but not getting the results we deserved. This was a massive game for us and we got the three points we deserved.
"We've got back to back home games now so it's something we can build on. We'll take a lot of confidence from that and keep working and try to climb the table.
Fletcher converted Adam Johnson's cool pass to get the Black Cats moving and the former Wolves man was happy to be back among the goals for the first time since September. The Scottish striker said: "It was a relief to get a goal and get the three points. It's been coming. Sessegnon has been working very hard and he's been playing brilliantly so it's fantastic.''
O'Neill knows all too well that a depleted team can be a dangerous prospect so he was relieved to see his players conscientiously nullify Fulham's attacking outlets.
"It was a big, big effort by the team,'' the Sunderland boss said. "With Fulham going down to 10 men, sometimes you're not sure how to play it but we tried to stretch them and keep a bit of width and we've won the game. Some great goals were scored in the match but Fulham were always a threat.''
O'Neill was reluctant to comment on Hangeland's dismissal having failed to get a good look at the Norway international's challenge during the match.
He added: "I haven't seen it back on television so I don't know. Naturally, sendings-off change the course of matches, whether they're midway through the first half or whenever. We were a long time playing with 11 versus 10 but you still have to go and break the team down and we scored some great goals in doing so.''
O'Neill reserved special praise for Fletcher, whom he recruited from Wolves in the summer. He said: "I thought Fletcher was absolutely fantastic and Simon Mignolet made some great saves at important moments. Fletcher's overall performance was terrific.''
Sunderland will play four of their next five league games on Wearside and O'Neill believes that home comforts will iron out a poor start to the season.
"There's been a bit of an imbalance,'' he added. "We've played 11 games, seven have been away from home and only four at home. So we're looking forward to getting back to the Stadium of Light and trying to do something about it.''