Sunderland boss Moyes admits: We made it too easy for Lukaku to grab hat-trick

Romelu Lukaku bags the first goal of his hat-trick. Picture by Frank Reid
Romelu Lukaku bags the first goal of his hat-trick. Picture by Frank Reid
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Match-winner Romelu Lukaku is a ‘top striker’, according to David Moyes, but the Sunderland boss says his players made it easy for the big Belgian.

Lukaku returned to form last night, ending a 1139-minute goal drought for Everton with an 11-minute, second-half hat-trick for the Toffees.

In doing so, the frontman consigning the Black Cats, who lie second bottom in the top flight table, to their fourth game without a win in 2016/17.

And even though former Everton boss Moyes is of the belief that the 23-year-old striker is without doubt a class act, he was angry at the way his defenders failed to make Lukaku work hard for his spoils, leaving him free all too often in vital areas.

“He is a top striker, but we made it easy for him,” said Moyes, after the comprehensive 3-0 defeat.

“He didn’t have to work too hard for his goals.

“I do think they have got a very good centre forward in Lukaku, though.”

Despite his anger at the defending by his players, Moyes was keen to find positives in what was otherwise a forgettable night of football at the Stadium of Light.

He picked out lively forward Adnan Januzaj, playing in a slightly more advanced role, for particular praise.

Moyes was also complimentary of the showing from energetic youngster Duncan Watmore.

“We had some good play going forward,” said the gaffer. ““We counter-attacked quite quickly. We didn’t always pick the right pass or make the right choice, though.

“We tried to get Adnan closer to Jermain Defoe.

“I thought Adnan made some really good movements with the ball. I thought Duncan was a threat.”

Despite some brief moments of creative spark in the final third, Moyes believes it was his players’ lack of cutting edge that was costly.

Most guilty on the night was usually reliable forward Defoe, who squandered a gilt-edged opportunity in the opening exchanges.

Moyes continued: “I thought going forward at times we were liable to make ourselves an opportunity.

“But when we did make them we didn’t look like taking them.”

Everton boss Ronald Koeman was thrilled with Lukaku’s performance.

“I did not have doubts about him,” said the Goodison manager, reflecting on the Belgian’s barren run prior to last night.

“It is unbelievable how good he can be. Strikers look to score goals and there was a little doubt in his mind when he didn’t score for so long for Everton.

“I told him the best answer is on the pitch and he showed his quality with the goals tonight. It was a great performance.”