Why did Sunderland make no substitutions in 3-1 defeat to Stoke City?

Fabio Borini tries to get the better of Erik Pieters. Picture by FRANK REID
Fabio Borini tries to get the better of Erik Pieters. Picture by FRANK REID
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David Moyes defended his decision NOT to make a single substitution in Sunderland's 3-1 defeat to Stoke City.

It seemed strange to see a team sliding to defeat without the manager making some attempt to spark his side as the game wore on.

But he said he did not have anyone on the bench better than the three forward players already on the field, Jermain Defoe, Fabio Borini and Adnan Januzaj.

Defoe scored the only home goal five minutes before half-time but it was his only shot of the match which resulted in the Black Cats dropping a place to second bottom.

In defence of Moyes, two of his subs were full-backs, Billy Jones and Javier Manquillo, and another was keeper Mika.

His other four subs were U23 players, George Honeyman, Elliott Embleton, Josh Maja, Joel Asoro. In fact, the latter three are teenagers with Honeyman 22.

"We were trying to score goals and I didn't really feel I had the players on the bench any more capable than Fabio Borini, Jermain Defoe or Adnan Januzaj," said Moyes.

"We don't really have anything to change it around, I felt the best attacking players were already on the pitch."

Moyes reiteratedhis hope that Sunderland can do some transfer business in the second half of the January transfer window.

Not only is the injury list sizeable, three players are away at the Africa Cup of Nations, Wahbi Khazri, Lamine Kone and Didier Ndong.

"I think we'd want to add to our squad, our numbers are down," said Moyes. "We'll get players back from injury and the Africa Cup of Nations but at this moment we are very short."

Sunderland never recovered from an abysmal first 35 minutes when Stoke racked up a 3-0 lead.

Marko Arnautovic blasted in the first with his right foot on 15 minutes after his left-foot shot was blocked by Vito Mannone.

His second came via his left peg after brilliant one-twos with Xherdan Shaqiri and Peter Crouch, while Crouch headed home his third goal in three games 12 minutes from half-time after Mannone's woeful attempt to come out for a cross.

"You are going to make mistakes in football games, everyone makes mistakes," said Moyes. "But the three we made we were severely punished.

"May be we have made mistakes in other games and not been punished."

Thankfully for Sunderland, Crystal Palace were turned over 3-0 at West Ham which meant the gap between them and the Eagles remains at one point.

Swansea were hammered 4-0 by Arsenal on Paul Clement's home bow as boss but new Hull manager Marco Silva enjoyed a dream debut as the Tigers roared back from an early deficit to beat Bournemouth 3-1.