Wahbi Khazri was “spot on” in bouncing back from his Norwich half-time hooking, says Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce.
Khazri was hauled off at the interval during Sunderland’s 3-0 win at Norwich a fortnight ago after a poor 45-minute display which prompted Allardyce to withdraw his £9million January signing and introduce fit-again Duncan Watmore.
However, Khazri was among Sunderland’s top performers in last weekend’s stalemate against fourth-placed Arsenal, with the Tunisian international working doggedly and going close to a breakthrough for the Black Cats.
Allardyce is still looking for Khazri to contribute more in front of goal, after finding the net just once since arriving at the Stadium of Light, but was delighted to see the way the 25-year-old responded against the Gunners.
“His reaction was spot on, wasn’t it?” said Allardyce.
“That’s just what you’re looking for as a manager.
“Maybe a bit of complacency had slipped in that he’s had all this praise since coming here.
“But, at this critical stage, I couldn’t wait any longer against Norwich. I had to make that change based on his first-half performance.
“Last week, I thought he played very, very well, although I still think he has to chip in with a few goals, like Fabio (Borini).
“That applies to everyone really, other than Jermain (Defoe).”
Khazri is expected to be part of an unchanged Sunderland line-up at Stoke City tomorrow, with Allardyce boasting a fully fit squad.
Jeremain Lens is back in contention for a place on the bench after he missed the Arsenal draw through illness.