Chris Coleman admits it was an "opportunity missed" for Sunderland as they fail to break down ten-man Birmingham

The coach admitted that the 1-1 draw with Birmingham City was an "opportunity missed" for The Black Cats.

Chris Coleman admits it was an "opportunity missed" for Sunderland as they fail to break down ten-man Birmingham
Above: Chris Coleman ahead of the 1-1 draw with Birmingham City | Photo: Getty Images/Ian Horrocks - Sunderland AFC

Sunderland AFC manager Chris Coleman has admitted that The Black Cats had an "opportunity missed" on Saturday, as they failed to break down a ten-man Birmingham City side in their 1-1 stalemate. 

It lacked confidence for some reason 

The Black Cats should have been fully high in confidence as they welcomed Steve Cotterill's side to Wearside, especially considering they ended their 364-day wait for a home win last week against Fulham. 

It didn't start well for the home side as Sam Gallagher gave City the lead, but swiftly turned it around with Lewis Grabban's effort minutes after falling behind. 

Sunderland were handed a golden opportunity to try and make it back-to-back wins at home when the goalscorer Gallagher was dismissed late in the second period, Coleman threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Birmingham goal but failed to materialise a winner. 

The point kept them inside the relegation zone of the Championship table, and Coleman admitted his disappointment at his side's failure in front of goal post-match. 

"I was disappointed, it was an opportunity missed," Coleman told his post-match press conference. "Overall performance we were nervous and lacked confidence for some reason."

"We went 1-0 down but showed good conviction and didn't fold and got back in the game," the Welshman proclaimed. "We didn't go under. Showed courage. I expected us to go and win it. Key moments in the game we lacked conviction and confidence offensively." 

"We are in a relegation dogfight at the moment, we were fourth bottom they were bottom," the coach admitted. "We knew it would be a dogfight before we kicked the ball."

"I was a bit disappointed from that perspective, dropping two points at home so we missed an opportunity," Coleman added. "It could have been worse, when we went 1-0 down it could have been 'here we go again'".

 

Couldn't risk him any longer than we did 

Sunderland will have to quickly get over their disappointment as the festive fixtures will be coming thick and fast for The Black Cats, with three fixtures coming in the next seven days and with such a quick turnaround fitness remains crucial. 

A major concern will be the fitness of midfielder Darron Gibson, the Irishman has become crucial in the last few weeks since with the absences of the likes of Lee Cattermole, Paddy McNair and Didier Ndong. 

Gibson was replaced with 15 minutes to play by the Gabonese international, Coleman confirmed that Gibson came off with a groin problem and stated his hope that he would be fit for the Boxing Day clash with Sheffield United. 

"Darron Gibson has got a groin problem, he has had a tough week," he confirmed on the midfielder's fitness. "With the games coming up we couldn't risk him any longer than we did."

"He is one player you want on the pitch, he is our best passer. We couldn't risk him any longer than we did." the coach proclaimed. "I hope he won't miss Boxing Day. We have to see how he settles down."

"We haven't got Lee Cattermole, Paddy McNair, Didier Ndong this was only his second game back and couldn't really play any longer than he did," the 47-year-old stated. "Holding midfield players are scarce at the moment." 

"With these games coming thick and fast," Coleman concluded. "It will be seeing where we are in 24-hours to see if players are ready."Who feels the best, really."