Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton spoke to the media following his sides 1-1 draw away at Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Barton’s side had the perfect start when Swansea City loanee Barrie McKay scored early on with a clever finish under Jon McLaughlin, but it was heartbreak for the Cod Army as Max Power scored with the last kick of the game.
It was a proud performance from the squad from the first minute to the last, and Barton echoed those words when he spoke after the final whistle.
Here are the best parts from the post match interview:
On the match…
“It doesn’t feel like a defeat. I feels like a draw and it’s so disappointed to feel like that as we have got use to winning football matches. It’s nine unbeaten for us now and when you think of the places we’ve had to go to and teams we have played. Doncaster at home, Wycombe away which is hard to go to and then games against Peterborough and Portsmouth.
“Sunderland are absolutely flying like ourselves, and we’ve come here and were five seconds away from winning the game and keeping another clean sheet. It would have been the just reward because we came to do a job and it was almost done.
“The referee added six minutes on from somewhere, and those were up and then they scored in stoppage time, in stoppage time and that is very strange. It felt like the 50/50s, they got it but we should take care of the punt upfield. They played two big lads up there and banged balls up to them all night.
“We’ve got to be proud that little old Fleetwood, have made Sunderland, who were in the Premier League a few years back, celebrate like they did in their own stadium like it was a World Cup final. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got Tranmere at the weekend who are fighting for their life.”
On the character shown by his team…
“We are the real deal. We’ve known that and we’ve been trying hard to get the results to validate that and I believe they have come in recent weeks. At the end of the day, we have done enough yet. We are in the mix, we should be above Sunderland tonight. If we meet Sunderland in the play-offs, would we be worried? I don’t think so.
“They are a big physical outfit. Phil Parkinson has got them going well but with that style of football, you’d rather watch us than Sunderland as we play football. They do sit above us in the table and that’s results but as I said, there’s no time to sulk, there’s another war to come on Saturday.”
On Barrie McKay’s goal…
“It was great to see as him score that goal as he starts to reach peak fitness. He obviously came here under that due to not much game time, but he shows in flashes that real quality and something we’ve missed. He can open the door against the better sides, and when you come to places like the Stadium of Light, he can do what he did tonight.
“You need that magician. I don’t think we utilised him enough in the first period of the game, so we said in the second half to feed it to him more, but credit to Sunderland who managed to stop us doing that. It’s always nice to have a player of his quality, he gets fans off their seats and he has been a real breath of fresh air.”