Sunderland cannot solely rely upon Jermain Defoe to fire the Black Cats to Premier League survival, insists Sam Allardyce.
Wasted chances have cost Sunderland dear in each of their last two games, with back-to-back defeats against Arsenal and Watford sending Allardyce’s men back to second bottom in the table.
The absence of joint top scorer Defoe – who missed the Arsenal game with a hamstring problem and then was only fit enough to be used as a substitute last weekend – has been notable, with Allardyce bemoaning the absence of Sunderland’s most natural finisher.
But Black Cats boss Allardyce says all of Sunderland’s attackers have to share the responsibility of finding their shooting boots.
“Jermain Defoe came on against Watford and didn’t score,” said Allardyce.
“It’s not all about Defoe. It’s about Steven Fletcher, Fabio Borini, Adam Johnson.
“I’m not going to put that pressure on Duncan (Watmore) at the minute, because he’s just a livewire.
“But all the other players have the responsibility to score goals when the chances come their way.
“They didn’t do it at Arsenal and didn’t do it against Watford.
“That’s the real sad thing.”
While Sunderland’s profligacy in front of goal cost them against Watford, they ultimately paid the price for a snail-paced start to the game when they could conceivably have been 3-0 down inside 15 minutes.
A week on, those opening exchanges remain a shock for Allardyce after Sunderland had appeared to be on an upward curve under his stewardship.
“It really was a staggering sight for me to see us playing so poorly after the very good improvement and grounding I’d seen,” he added.
“We were starting to get the basics right and make fewer mistakes than the opposition.
“Then we go and make so many mistakes in the first 10 minutes that we were lucky not to be two or three down.
“And then to recover from that and not get a point out of it, is the real downside to our game.
“We’ve got to start drawing a few games if we can’t win them. At this moment in time, we can’t achieve that. We either win or lose.”