Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill admits Sotirios Kyrgiakos struggled on debut against Blackburn Rovers.

Rovers defeated Sunderland 2-0 last night.

O'Neill admitted to "Sotirios Kyrgiakos came in for a difficult debut; it was always going to be difficult for him.

"He came in for John O'Shea who has tweaked his hamstring so we didn't want to take any chances with him."

Kyrgiakos, who was brought in as defensive cover on January transfer deadline day, has not played a competitive game since last November, when he lined up for Wolfsburg in the German Bundesliga.

"At some stage or another Kyrgiakos was going to play," O'Neill added, "and I think he did tire towards the end."