Sunderland need to take confidence from the league meeting with Southampton ahead of tonight’s EFL Cup clash, says David Moyes.
The Black Cats came within five minutes of victory at St Mary’s Stadium in late August after Jermain Defoe had put Sunderland in the lead from the penalty spot 10 minutes from time.
But Moyes’ side were hit by another late goal, with Jay Rodriguez popping up with the equaliser in the 85th minute, the ball squirming under Jordan Pickford.
Sunderland were more than a match for Southampton that day.
But the two sides have gone their separate ways since that sunny day on the south coast, with Claude Puel’s side climbing to eighth in the Premier League, while Sunderland are yet to win a league game.
Sunderland are in desperate need of a win to help boost morale ahead of the visit of Arsenal to the Stadium of Light on Saturday lunchtime.
Moyes said: “We need to go there and take confidence from the first game, when we were four or five minutes away from winning.”
The Saints lost Ronald Koeman to Everton in the summer but former Nice boss Puel has seamlessly taken over the reigns since.
And ahead of tonight’s match (7.45pm kick-off), Moyes has moved to praise the south-coast outfit for their transfer business.
Moyes added: “Southampton have done really well, particularly with the players they have brought through their academy.
“On top of that, they have gone out and made some good signings.
“They have spent a few bob, but they have been able to do that because they have sold people like Adam Lallana, Sadio Mane, and others.
“Part of being a good club is that you have to buy and sell well, and Southampton have done that.”
Sunderland head into the game on the back of the demoralising late defeat to West Ham United, Winston Reid scoring the winner with almost the last kick of the game.
The goal was controversial, with Moyes and his coaching staff angry that Hammers sub Jonathan Calleri was stood in front of Pickford, with Moyes adamant he was in an offside position.
Sunderland didn’t help themselves, though, with Lynden Gooch and Paddy McNair switching off for the short corner in the first place.
“It was difficult because we were so disappointed to lose so late on,” added Moyes.
“I’ve watched the game again, I’ve spoken to the players, and actually we played well for part of the second half – just in the last 10 minutes or so we started to drop off a little bit, but that might have been the fear that we could lose something.
“The players should take confidence from a lot of the things we did, although there are bits we are doing well and there are bits we need to do better.
“I was really disappointed at the end of the game and it was really controversial to lose in the last minute.
“I was also angry at the way the players switched off for the corner.
“But when I look back at the game, aside from the first 20 minutes which I didn’t like at all, we did quite well and did a good enough job against West Ham.
“Wahbi Khazri had a chance to make it 1-0 in the second half, but we are just not taking our opportunities at the moment.”
Moyes is refusing to blame the club’s winless streak – stretching to nine Premier League games – on misfortune but he felt they were dealt a tough hand at the London Stadium.
“I never like talking about luck, because I think you have to earn your own luck,” said the Sunderland boss.
“But I did think on Saturday we were unfortunate.
“Having said that, there were too players that turned their backs at the corner kick – they should have waited until it had been set up, but instead they turned and ran away [towards goal].
“I still think the goal was offside, I think he is in line with the goalkeeper and he is the last man, and the benefit should go to us in that situation.
“If it had been given offside, I don’t think anyone would have said anything else about it.
“That’s where we were a bit unlucky.”