Sunderland’s tired legs prompted Sam Allardyce to turn to his bench in the second half of their 4-1 defeat at Spurs.
Allardyce’s substitutions at White Hart Lane backfired spectacularly on Sunderland, with new signing Jan Kirchhoff enduring an utterly miserable debut, while a tactical switch to five at the back similarly failed, as Spurs were able to net three times in the final half-hour.
We tried to make the substitutions with fresh legs to come on and help, but sadly for us, that didn’t work.Sam Allardyce
But with Sunderland facing their third away game in the space of a gruelling eight day period which had seen players travel almost 2,000 miles, Allardyce felt that he needed to introduce fresh blood to the fray.
Allardyce said: “At 1-1, we contained Tottenham extremely well, even though we gifted them that goal 40 seconds after we scored.
“For 60 minutes we were fine, but I just think we ran out of legs.
“The players’ energy levels diminished rapidly.
“We knew that was going to be the case after the week we’d had.
“We tried to make the substitutions with fresh legs to come on and help, but sadly for us, that didn’t work.
“We ended up getting beat with what looks like a comfortable win for Tottenham, but for 60 minutes we were looking pretty good.”
Once Christian Eriksen’s shot had deflected off Kirchhoff and over the head of Jordan Pickford for Spurs’ third goal, the hosts were able to see the game through at a canter.
“The third one was the real blow because it got a massive deflection off Jan,” added Allardyce.
“At 2-1, Tottenham were glad to be in front, but never comfortable.
“We may have had an opportunity to get at the back four and get a chance.
“But when the third went in, it was really game over I suppose.
“Jan gave a very, very soft penalty away for the fourth and they’re soft goals.”