David Moyes insists that the presence of Patrick van Aanholt in the Crystal Palace side did not serve as motivation for his Sunderland players in Saturday’s 4-0 victory.
The Black Cats ended an eight-game winless run at Selhurst Park, finding their scoring touch and hammering four goals past a hapless Eagles defence.
Left-back Van Aanholt, making only his second Palace appearance after moving from Sunderland in a £14million deal, was left exposed for the fourth goal on the stroke of half-time, out of position near the halfway line as Adnan Januzaj found the space to slide in Jermain Defoe on the right flank.
Sunderland manager Moyes reiterated that it was a good financial move for the club, and there were no negative feelings towards the Dutchman.
He said: “I didn’t see that as an extra motivation because they’re all good friends with Pat.
“I just felt that it was done for the right reasons for the club, for the FFP ceiling and so that we could bring players in.”
The 26-year-old’s replacement at Sunderland, Bryan Oviedo, repaid his manager’s faith in bringing him to the club with an excellent debut.
Crystal Palace did their best to get the ball to star man Wilfried Zaha in the first half, but, after a shaky start, the Costa Rican delivered an impressive display. frustrating the Ivorian who would later be booked for dissent.
For Moyes, the former Everton left-back was a strong contender for the best player on the pitch.
He said: “Oviedo played really well. He might be a pick for man of the match, mainly because he was up against Wilfried Zaha, who he kept quiet for most of the game.”
The Sunderland boss also paid short shrift to suggestions that midfielder Sebastian Larsson could have seen red in the first half.
The Swede was booked early on for a crunching challenge on Zaha before tangling again with the winger just minutes later.
The free-kick from that incident led to Palace defender James Tomkins missing a free header at the back post from close range, a pivotal moment in the game.
Yet referee Andre Marriner chose instead to merely warn 31-year-old Larsson, who went on to impress and play a key part in Sunderland’s third goal.
Moyes felt the Wearsiders actually didn’t get the rub of the green from Marriner and defended Larsson.
He said: “I didn’t think he deserved it.
“I thought we got very few decisions in the game, very few went our way.
“The first one seemed harsh.”