Seb Larsson '˜quality' is huge boost for Sunderland in Premier League survival fight
David Moyes is hoping for more goals from set-plays this season '“ after finally opening their account.
Providing you do not count penalties as a set-piece, Sunderland had not scored via a corner or free-kick ... until now.
While there was an element of luck attached to the debut goal from a corner, Moyes was thrilled he could celebrate his first as Black Cats boss.
Substitute Seb Larrson, making his first Premier League appearance of the season, delivered a fine ball from the right.
It was perfect for fellow sub Jan Kirchhoff, who had escaped his marker. And while the lanky German’s header was not well directed it ended up ion the back of the net, via a thick deflection from Robert Huth.
Moyes hailed the ability of Larsson, who has returned from summer surgery on a long-standing knee complaint ahead of schedule.
“Seb gives us the quality delivery – we’ve not scored from a set-piece all season,” said the manager.
“That has been mainly to do with the quality of delivery than anything else.
“Seb, as everyone knows, has that quality.”
Moyes had been bemoaning Sunderland’s bad luck on the injury front after being forced to make a double half-time change.
Steven Pienaar and Jason Denayer had both put in great first-half displays before being forced off.
Pienaar suffered a sore head after a thumping collision with Marc Albrighton at the end of the first half and blurred vision prevented him from resuming.
Denayer, who was again operating in central midfield, was feeling unwell and he too did not make it back out the tunnel after the interval.
But for all the misfortune, Moyes admitted the return of Larsson and Kirchhoff was a boost for the side.
“It was good that we had two senior players we could bring on when we got the injuries,” said the Scot, who is looking forward to seeing Fabio Borini return and Adnan Januzaj challenge for a place in the side.
“Probably earlier in the season we were having to bring on two young players to try to do something.
“[On Saturday] we at least were able to bring on two senior players.
“We have some players to come back, I hope we don’t keep losing them.
“We have to get Fabio back and hopefully Adnan is getting much closer to full fitness and ready to play.”
Larsson and Kirchhoff certainly played their parts and, depending on the fitness of Pienaar and Denayer, will be contenders to start the big relegation battle at Swansea on Saturday.