Allardyce: Sunderland would have already been down without Defoe's goals - time for others to step up

Jermain Defoe scored his 14th league goal of the season against Stoke City

Jermain Defoe scored his 14th league goal of the season against Stoke City

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Sam Allardyce heaped praise on hero Jermain Defoe - but called on his Sunderland teammates to start chipping in to relieve the pressure.

Defoe scored his 14th Premier League goal of the season in the dying minutes of the game at Britannia Stadium to rescue a point against Stoke City.

Allardyce said without the goals of Defoe - who has scored 17 in all competitions - Sunderland would already have been relegated to the Championship.

And he admits it is time others start to help alleviate some of the pressure, with Fabio Borini and Duncan Watmore the second highest scorers with four goals each.

"He has 14 Premier League goals now in a struggling side," said Allardyce.

"One of the big problems is the other players not chipping in with enough goals.

"Without Jermain we would have already been relegated. He has kept us in the picture.

"He has kept us in a position where we can avoid relegation.

"Defoe is good because he scores goals when you need him too - and vital goals.

"The myth about him playing up front on his own has gone. His position and opportunity to score were few and far between.

"When we needed him most he stood up. He got the penalty through his own ability."

Mark Hughes' Stoke side had shipped four goals in each of their last three games heading into the game.

In a bid to halt their run of three straight defeats, Hughes made five changes and the Potters were vastly improved.

Allardyce said: "Stoke didn't surprise me, they got a lot of their players back from injury and I thought Mark would switch the side around.

"Their results hadn't been good. I expected a tough game and that is exactly what we got, it has never been easy to come here.

"We could have heaped more pressure on an inexperienced goalkeeper and we didn't do that.

"We had too many chances thrown away by ourselves, it heaped more pressure on us.

"We have just not quite got enough sometimes to get over the line to win the three points.

"I will try and calm those nerves this week and give the lads a nice week, not heaping too much pressure on them.

"To try and get them mentally ready to go out against one of the bigger teams in the league.

"Chelsea have had a bad season but still have massively talented players.

"We have a big task on trying to beat them."