Newcastle United had just 4 points from their first 5 away games this season before the derby game on Saturday, so some will see the draw at Sunderland as a good result, even though Newcastle were second best on the day.
A defeat would have been a catastrophic result for Newcastle on the back of the defeats against Reading and Portsmouth.
James Milner – scored equalizing goal on Saturday
Itâ€™s true that after Sunderland scored their goal, Newcastle could easily have collapsed under the pressure exerted by Sunderland, who were desperate to beat their rivals at the Stadium of Light. But James Milner got his second goal of the season for the Magpies after 65 minutes out of nowhere, to save us.Â Although it was a lucky goal, weâ€™re sure Newcastle will take anything they can get right now.
James Milner talked to the Newcastle Journal this morning:
â€œIt was going to be tough for us after they scored, their fans were right behind them,â€ â€œThe important thing was we didnâ€™t crumble. If anything, we played better after they scored. It was about grit, determination and team spirit.â€
â€œThis game was about how we reacted to the Portsmouth game. It was how we reacted to going a goal behind. We have shown resilience. We didnâ€™t hide and we battled on and hopefully that shows the team spirit and character we are building here.â€
â€œAfter last week against Portsmouth, when we did not have a great result, we could have caved in. It was important we came here and got something, not just because of last week, but because our away form has been poor.â€
â€œItâ€™s nice to stop the rot away from home, especially in a game like this. Hopefully it will be a springboard for better things away from. What we want to do away from home is play like we did after they scored from the start. If we can do that our away form will improve.â€
Milner has every right to be proud of his first goal in a North-East derby at the Stadium of Light, but he was also keen to highlight the role played by Michael Owen in the goal. The England striker has not scored for club or country in his last seven games but, captain for the day, Owen battled well from the limited service provided by Newcastleâ€™s midfield.
â€œIt was great to score in a game of this magnitude,â€ â€œIt was one of those where I aimed to hit it towards the far post, if someone had got a touch, great, but it was even better for me they didnâ€™t and it sneaks in.
â€œItâ€™s all credit to Michael because he made the goal and he made the keeper hesitate. Itâ€™s because of Michael it went in, all world-class strikers have those instincts. He may not have had the touch, but he was just as important in getting the goal as I was.â€
â€œSometimes work like that by strikers goes unnoticed. They are under pressure to score every week and Michael has not scored for a couple, but he will score wherever he plays, he is a world-class player.â€
â€œWe know how much he is contributing, whether he is scoring or not. The run he made for the goal is a perfect example of that.â€
â€œI donâ€™t care if people think it was a cross or a shot. I was just putting it into a dangerous area and we work on that the whole time in training.â€
Michael Owen did work hard to try to make an impact on the game, but he didnâ€™t. He had two half chances, one in each half, but couldnâ€™t put either chance away. Michael hasnâ€™t scored now for a while and needs a goal or two. Those goals need to be for Newcastle because goals for England donâ€™t count, and thatâ€™s not the reason we pay Michael over Â£100K/week. We pay him to score goals for Newcastle and we really hope he can start doing that before the end of the year. We are going to need those goals, thatâ€™s for sure.