Michael Appleton delivers his verdict on Blackpool's draw against Sunderland and the nine-game winless run

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Michael Appleton felt Blackpool were worthy of their point against a Sunderland side he described as the best outfit to come to Bloomfield Road so far this season.
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The Seasiders delivered a much-improved first-half display to lead 1-0 at the break thanks to Shayne Lavery’s coolly-taken strike.

But the Black Cats responded well in the second-half, equalising through Ross Stewart before squandering good chances to win it.

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Reflecting on the game, Appleton said: “I thought for 60-65 minutes we went toe-to-toe with them and it made for a good game, a bit like a game of basketball really. But we knew for us to compete and get something from the game it had to be like that.

“We scored a good goal, a quality goal. It was good timing of the pass, good timing of the run and a good finish.

“Obviously the second goal eluded us but we had a couple of opportunities. When they did equalise it became difficult for us but the lads stood up to the pressure, defended excellently at times and because of the way we defended and contributed in the first-half, I felt we deserved a point.

Sunderland are a top team. I’d arguably say they’re the best side that have been here this season.

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Michael Appleton's side are now winless in their last nine gamesMichael Appleton's side are now winless in their last nine games
Michael Appleton's side are now winless in their last nine games

“The athleticism, the dynamism of the front four, the way they move the ball, two-touch, it’s everything you’d want from a balanced team and squad.

“Fair play to Tony (Mowbray), he’s got them playing well and they’re obviously in a good moment so we were playing them in a good spell.

“They’re as good as I’ve seen come here this season.”

While Blackpool’s performance was improved, especially in the first period, the draw means they’re now winless in their last nine games.

Addressing the poor run, Appleton said: “I don’t think we’ve had the rewards we’ve probably deserved in the last five games.

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“What I would say is that the effort the players have put in has been outstanding.

“From a personal point of view, they’ve given me everything they possibly can in these last four or five games and I’m a big believer if you keep doing that, and I help by bringing a bit more quality in, then we’ll get the rewards we want and we need.”