Sunderland boss Moyes admits: It’s a case of hanging in just now

Jan Kirchhoff makes life tough for Spurs midfielder Dele Alli yesterday. Picture by Frank Reid
Jan Kirchhoff makes life tough for Spurs midfielder Dele Alli yesterday. Picture by Frank Reid
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Sunderland remain without a Premier League win – and manager David Moyes is under no illusions as to the task facing his players.

The Black Cats were hanging on for large periods of the game at White Hart Lane, with Jordan Pickford in goal the outstanding player on the pitch.

Time and time again he was called upon to quell another Spurs attack, with Heung-Min Son their tormentor-in-chief.

Son was relentless, and it led to Sunderland having to survive some narrow scrapes, with Pickford called into action countless times.

The deadlock was ultimately broken by Harry Kane – later stretchered off – after he capitalised on an awful error from Papy Djilobodji in the 59th minute.

Moyes admits his team are having to hang in to try and get something from games at the moment, as their miserable run of having failed to pick up a league win in August or September since 2012 stretches on.

“We were in the game, but we have to be truthful, it was tough,” admitted Moyes.

“There were shots fizzing past the post and we were hanging in there.

“Credit to the players, that’s where we are at the moment, we are having to be resilient and hang in games and look to get something.

“It would be a big surprise if I said this was a game we would get something.

“We came here trying to get something, but we were always on the back foot.

“But we may have had the best chance of the match through Steven Pienaar.”

Despite Spurs’ dominance, it was Sunderland that came closest to opening the scoring, Pienaar’s weak effort cleared off the line by Kyle Walker before the break.

Jermain Defoe and Adnan Januazaj combined well, with the latter playing in the South African midfielder, but he couldn’t get enough power on his effort and Walker cleared.

“It was always going to be a tough game,” added Moyes.

“But if you said before the match you will get these type of chances I’d have taken that.

“Jermain had a couple of chances and, while I’ve not seen in yet, Steven’s looked nearly an open goal with just the keeper to beat.

“He didn’t finish it off.”

The main plus to come from the game was the performance of England Under-21 international keeper Jordan Pickford.

The 22-year-old was superb in the Sunderland goal, his pin-point distribution almost resulted in Defoe nipping in to open the scoring in the first half, Spurs captain Hugo Lloris saving low.

“You can see he has youthful traits at the moment overall he has potential to go on,” added Moyes.

“He’s only at the start of his journey and he’s going to get a lot of work as you can see.

“But the work he did you could see he did really well.”

Club record signing Didier Ndong made his full debut, the £13.6million summer signing impressing in central midfield alongside Jan Kirchhoff and Lee Cattermole.

The skipper was back in the side making his first start since returning from a double hernia operation at the start of the season, adding some much-needed experience to the Sunderland side.

Kirchhoff, who endured a nightmare debut at White Hart Lane last season, wasn’t as effective as he was against Everton, but Moyes is pleased to have some of his older players back in the side.

Moyes added: “I thought Didier Ndong did well – he gave us a youthful energy and legs, got around the pitch well.

“It was good to have Kirch and Catts back together too.

“Kirch got some game-time last week (against Rochdale, for the Under-23s in the EFL Trophy, and Everton).

“We need to get them back to a level.

“But we’re going to have to up our level generally.”