Kevin Moeliker: Lamine Kone has proved the difference since Sunderland return

Lamine Kone scored the opener against Crystal Palace
Lamine Kone scored the opener against Crystal Palace
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A week is a long time in football.

By early evening on deadline day there was a dark cloud hovering over Wearside – our winless run in the league had stretched to five games, we were out of the FA Cup, players were asking to leave and we were struggling to bolster our ranks with new signings.

Before the game against Tottenham, we were thinking "how many?" but the team’s dogged display against a Spurs side littered with talent won over a few doubters.

Fast-forward seven days and the skies above Wearside are a lot brighter. If the Spurs game lay the foundations, the Crystal Palace game on Saturday shook them to their core.

Far too often, we fail to build on good performances and fail to capitalise on an opposition devoid of confidence, but at the weekend we showed a ruthlessness in front of goal that has been scarcely evident all season.

When Palace were at sixes and sevens we seized our opportunity and went for the jugular. And it was truly a joy to watch.

N’Dong’s first goal for the club was memorable, Januzaj’s return to form was a delight, Oviedo’s debut was truly impressive and finally, finally, Rodwell tasted success from the start at the 39th time of asking.

Defoe was instrumental as usual, but for me Kone has been the difference between success and failure in the past seven days.

He has been solid as a rock since returning from the African Cup of Nations and the team has reaped the rewards as a result.

The most impressive thing for me about the Palace game was the fact that we once again delivered the goods when it mattered most.

If we continue repeating the trick another great escape might just be on the cards after all.

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