PIERRE EKWAH claims last night’s spirited draw with Leeds United proves Sunderland’s players have not switched off for the summer.

The Black Cats became the first side to prevent Leeds from scoring at Elland Road since early September as they mounted a superb rearguard action to claim a goalless draw.

When Mike Dodds’ side shipped five goals at home to Blackburn on Easter Monday, they were accused of having thrown in the towel for the rest of the season after their hopes of making the play-offs disappeared.

Ekwah insists that was never the case, and cites the draw at Leeds as proof that he and his team-mates remain as committed and motivated as ever.

“We are still pushing, 100 per cent,” said the Sunderland midfielder. “We still want to finish the highest we possibly can, and still want to go out there and perform for the fans. I just think it’s important, and we owe them.

“I think we always start with a strong mindset defensively at the minute – we’ve shown that in the last four or five games, apart from the Blackburn game.

“Leeds were playing to try to get promoted, but I thought we really stopped them well. We had more chances than them too, and from our point of view, we did really well to withstand the pressure that they tried to put on us.”


Attention now switches to Saturday, when Sunderland will take on another promotion hopeful at their own ground as they head to the Hawthorns to face West Brom.

As was the case with Leeds, the Black Cats beat the Baggies on Wearside earlier in the season, so while they came close to completing a notable double at Elland Road, they are keen to go one better in the Black Country.

“It almost felt like a win (at Leeds),” said Ekwah. “But almost is a good word because we didn’t win at the end. We definitely put everything on the line, and everything the gaffer said in the changing room, we put on the pitch, so that was good from us.

“Roll on West Brom now. Let’s go and get the three points at their place. It’s a nice place to play at as well, so we’ll definitely be trying to get all three points down there.”