Fans to lift Sunderland says boss David Moyes

Patrick van Aanholt walks off after being injured. Picture by FRANK REID

Patrick van Aanholt walks off after being injured. Picture by FRANK REID

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Sunderland's great supporters can lift the players off the Premier League floor.

So says manager David Moyes after seeing his Black Cats beaten 2-0 at Stoke City in the vital bottom-of-the-table showdown.

It leaves Sunderland not only holding up the rest of the Premier League on two points but the only top flight side not to have won yet.

The damage was done to the away side in the first half as lapses in concentration afforded Joe Allen a double to make it four goals in the last three games for the midfielder.

Fans in the away end let the players know exactly how they felt at the interval as the side walked past them to reach the tunnel at the bet365 Stadium.

But the near 3,000-strong contingent in the away end sang their way through the second half as they gave their players such passionate support.

"We're looking for a win to give us a lift and give us a bit of momentum, something we can start from," said Moyes. "That's the hard bit.

"If anything is going to lift the players, it's the fans - the way they supported the team.

"The lads had great backing from the supporters who never gave up on the players.

"The supporters are sticking with the club and the players."

Those fans will be at the London Stadium on Saturday when their struggling team visit West Ham in another crucial basement fixture.

Moyes saw some signs of encouragement in the first half against Mark Hughes's side, whose goal was threatened by Jermain Defoe, Ryan Shawcross first making a vital block from a shot before the striker fired just over Lee Grant's crossbar.

But for all the danger and several corners, the Black Cats could not find the Potters net.

"Jermain had a chance in the first half and one in the second," said the 53-year-old.

"I thought we looked most likely [to score] in the first half

"We want the players to be better on the ball, try to build from the back when we can at the right times.

"It was something we tried to do but we didn't get the result to prove it and we conceded two poor goals."

There was more injury woe as Patrick van Aanholt came off with an adductor problem. joining Victor Mannone, Lamine Kone, Jason Denayer, Jan Kirchhoff, Lee Cattermole, Adnan Januzaj, Fabio Borini and the long-term knee victim Seb Larsson.