Well that wasn't quite the bounceback from the West Brom defeat we all wanted, but on the plus side there was a clean sheet and it's not a loss. That really is about it as far as the positives as a whole go, but we've got some other key points to take from last night's game.
What The Gaffer Said
There was a definite despondent tone from O'Neill following this one. He told safc.com:
It was a difficult evening.
Queens Park Rangers were buoyed by the appointment of their new manager and they came with plenty of determination.
I really felt that at any given stage we could have scored in the game, but it wasn't to be.
Simon [Mignolet] made a great save for us and then Steven [Fletcher] went close at the other end. That looked like it was going to be the moment.
Confidence is a big thing, we've been talking about it for a while now, but we'll come through it.
Short and quite vague really. Sounds like he is hurting. Not much more to add to that, really. (MG)
The Cattermole Gambit
Hindsight can be a cruel judge. Playing Lee Cattermole was clearly a gamble, and given he failed to last much more than five minutes - admittedly due to aggravating the other knee - the gamble clearly failed.
We will look back on the decision with the benefit of hindsight and say O'Neill got it wrong, but I am sure it wasn't taken blindly. Cattermole will have trained, been assessed by the club's staff, and the management advised by medical professionals.
A shame that it didn't pay off and hopefully no further damage was inflicted on the injury, but that is the nature of a gamble I guess. (MG)
Rose Let Off The Leash
Since arriving from Spurs with a reputation for being an attacking full back, Danny Rose hasn't really lived up to the billing. He has impressed. Good lord has be impressed. But he hasn't really been much of a factor in the final third.
He seemed to be let off the leash here, though. It was the most advanced we have seen him play in red and white and he carried some threat too. Lets hope he is allowed to continue it. (MG)
Muscle Needed In Midfield, Quickly
For all QPR were pretty much as toothless as we were, what they did highlight was the need for some muscle in the Sunderland midfield.
Diakite and Mbia were a strong presence, winning headers, brushing people aside, and asserting themselves on the game. There is nothing even remotely comparable within the Sunderland ranks.
The attacking quality is there and in place. Adding a platform to the midfield from which they can play has to be the next priority. (MG)
Looking Bleak, But Not Hopeless
Too many backwards and sideways passes. Too many passes to feet rather than passes into space. Too few men getting in the box. Too laboured and no conviction. Yes, definitely more negatives than positives right now.
As it stands, we have been dragged into a scrap at the bottom. I hesitate to say 'relegation battle', because there is no relegation battle in November, but it is starting to look like it could be a real slog.
Still wouldn't take much to make the picture look considerably better, we shouldn't forget that. But for the moment it is certainly looking bleak.
A footnote here should be that although this point left us perilously close to the relegation zone, it also left us just three points from the top ten. It wouldn't take much to effect a big change in fortune. (MG)