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Tony Mowbray praises Sunderland youngsters for standing up to Millwall 'intimidation'

By Michael Graham,


Sunderland boss proud of 'unbelievable effort' from youngsters at The Den.

Tony Mowbray credited Sunderland for an ‘unbelievable effort’ to grind out a draw at Millwall.

Sunderland had to stand up to a physical battering at The Den, and it looked like it was battle they were losing when Jake Cooper hooked the hosts ahead on the hour.

However, a brave Dennis Cirkin equaliser earned a draw for the Black Cats in front of the biggest Millwall home crowd in 28 years, and he left the Den feeling proud of his young players.

"We won't play many football matches like that this season,” Mowbray said after the game.

“It was a really intimidating atmosphere, intimidating on the pitch for the players. There seemed to be a thousand fouls in the first half, every time we got the ball there seemed to be a foul against us.

“We didn't lose the game, we're disappointed that we didn't really bring our game to the party because we weren't allowed to really, which is great credit to them and the way they play, and the threat they carry from anywhere on the pitch that's coming into your box.

“There's a bit of frustration we haven't come here and got three points but you have to say that it is a unique atmosphere and environment to play football in."

While it wasn’t a win, Sunderland fans should generally be happy with the performance from the side.

During the League One years, opposition attempting to bully the Black Cats in the way Millwall did was commonplace, and the players rarely stood up to it.

"It's an unbelievable effort to be honest,” Mowbray said. For how young this team is for them to come here under this atmosphere and intimidation.

"The overriding thing for me is that we weren't allowed to play the way we want to play today for long spells, because the game was so bitty and stop-start.

“It was a difficult game to play in. But we didn't lose the football match, we're a very young team against a huge physical confrontation and we have to be pleased with that."

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