David Moyes on what Sunderland need to do to maintain winning streak
At the height of Sunderland's 10-game winless streak to start the season, David Moyes insisted he could see signs of improvement.
A month on, Sunderland have won three out of four Premier League games, have climbed to third-bottom and are now just a single point from safety.
It’s an incredible turnaround, with struggling champions Leicester City the latest to be on the receiving end of a Sunderland win.
Victory over the Foxes was the second consecutive win on home soil, with Sunderland producing their best performance of the season.
Moyes says the players have set their own benchmark adding Sunderland have the firepower up front, in Victor Anichebe and Jermain Defoe, to do serious damage – provided they keep it tight at the back.
“I think you might have come away not knowing who were champions watching that game,” said a delighted Moyes.
“I said to the players afterwards that it was the best they had played, especially the first 30 minutes.
“I wasn’t so sure about the start of the second half – I thought we had dropped off a little.
“We had let them started to control the game and I was worried about that.
“I thought Victor, though, did a couple of things which turned it for us.
“I think we are showing that we can get up at people, get closer, run and get forward and do all the things you want the team to do.
“I didn’t always see that at the start [of the season].”
In the space of a few weeks, the turnaround on Wearside has been incredible. The introduction of a fully-fit Anichebe up front alongside prolific Defoe has been key.
And the improved performances of Lamine Kone and Papy Djilobodji, with John O’Shea also impressing against Liverpool, has been an integral part of the transformation too.
Moyes has echoed former manager Sam Allardyce’s mantra from last season when it comes to keeping it tight at the back.
Moyes added: “Things didn’t feel good earlier in the season – we weren’t winning.
“I thought we were a little bit unlucky in a couple of games.
“We could have picked up a point or two in some matches. West Ham comes to mind
“There was the Crystal Palace game here, too.
“If you took two points off West Ham and gave us one, I think we’d be out of the bottom three now.
“We’ve got to now keep up our level of performance.
“I think we always have a chance, but we have to defend well.
“I remember Big Sam saying about the need to keep clean sheets.
“I’m on the same wavelength because we have forward players who can win us games.”
The 53-year-old Scot conceded that Sunderland lacked quality at times, but he was delighted to see his side come away with a deserved three points ahead of this weekend’s crunch match away to basement side Swansea City.
“I thought we played well – the football was good,” said Moyes.
“Did we lack a bit of quality at decisive moments? Maybe, but we know that.
“But I think when we were asked to do the right things and defend well we did that.
“I thought we had good energy in the first half, the first 20 to 30 minutes especially.
“It looked like we had players who could score goals.”