David Moyes believes Victor Anichebe can be a powerful asset for Sunderland after starring in the club’s first league win.
The 28-year-old joined the Black Cats on a free transfer after deadline day following his release from West Bromwich Albion.
But, after missing pre-season training, it has taken a while for the no-nonsense forward to be match-fit, with Anichebe finally making his full league debut for Sunderland against Bournemouth on Saturday.
Anichebe, who started alongside Jermain Defoe in a more attacking 4-4-2, was superb, playing through the pain barrier after cracking his rib in the first half.
He outmuscled and bullied the Cherries’ defence, scoring the equaliser in the 33rd minute, a powerful shot high into the roof of the net after turning Simon Francis inside the area.
Moyes was delighted with his powerful display and hopes he can now keep showing that level of performance.
“Maybe a little because of his injury problems,” said Moyes, when asked if his signing in the summer was a gamble.
“But I always felt because we had gone past deadline day we hadn’t a striker, so it was always in the back of my mind if we could bring Victor in.
“We’d have liked to have added another striker, but it wasn’t meant to be.
“Victor was an option I always had in the back of my mind, someone who could give us a presence and hold the ball up.
“He’s a big striker to go, at times, alongside Jermain.
“His goalscoring record wasn’t what I was bringing him for, because I had Jermain.
“I felt that if I had someone as a presence alongside him that would help and to give us an alternative, someone we can bring off the bench, someone who can do a job.
“There weren’t many takers for him in the summer, but I have always had faith in Victor.
“He’s got more than what he shows.
“Sometimes people don’t recognise he’s actually a very good player.”
Moyes had played top scorer Defoe as the sole striker for the first 10 games of the campaign, but with the Black Cats without a win during the club’s worst ever start to a league campaign – it was time for a change.
Anichebe was drafted in and it helped relieve some of the pressure on the back four, with the former Everton striker able to hold the ball up and bring others into play.
And he showed his finishing ability with his first Sunderland goal and his first Premier League goal since scoring for West Brom against Newcastle in May 2015 – a whopping 546 days ago.
“When you are having so little possession, it means that your defenders are often going to be under the cosh,” added Moyes.
“Because of the injuries we had little choice but to try something else.
“It was a fantastic goal, a great turn and Victor’s powered it home.
“He got us our second goal, he was direct, getting into the box – he’s got great strength and ability.
“We just hope he keeps showing it.”
The winning goal came from the boot of Defoe in the 74th minute, the 34-year-old dispatching the penalty won by Anichebe with ease.
It was his sixth goal of the league campaign and it continues his good run away from home.
Defoe has netted 11 away goals in the Premier League in 2016 – a haul bettered only by Manchester City ace Sergio Aguero, who has 15.
Moyes added: “Great penalty kick, wasn’t it?
“We thought he had a super chance in the first half which he might slip in after wriggling his way through.
“The great thing about Jermain is that he occupies the opposition.
“It was a great reward for him.”