Fabregas 'freak' embarrasses Anton
With the game goalless in the first half at the Stadium of Light, Ferdinand dallied on making a simple clearance before seeing his eventual attempt balloon up off Gunners skipper Cesc Fabregas' foot to fly into the net. Darren Bent spared the Black Cats defender's blushes in the end with an equaliser to make the game 1-1 right at the death, but it was scant consolation for what the player could only describe as a "freak" goal. "It was one of those moments when you want the ground to swallow you up, it was that embarrassing," he said. "If I got shut down like that five times this season, it wouldn't happen again. I was devastated, not just for myself but for the fans and the lads. "I should have got on the ball quicker. It was a freak goal. I had to make sure it didn't affect my game." The 25-year-old has only recently got back into manager Steve Bruce's first-team plans following a bust-up over his attitude. But the former West Ham defender paid tribute to his manager for keeping faith in him and allowing him to play. "I have repaid him with performances on the pitch and hopefully that will continue," Ferdinand added. "I don't know how close I was to leaving. The manager has been good to me and all I can do is thank him for his maturity. "A lot of managers would not have given me a second chance, so I have a lot of respect for him for that. I need to keep repaying him on the pitch, which is how he would want me to repay me."