Spurs 4 Sunderland 1: Costel Pantilimon edges closer to exit door plus five other things learned from heavy defeat

Jordan Pickford excelled again
Jordan Pickford excelled again
Have your say

It didn't take long for the joy of the Swansea City win to evaporate did it?

The midweek victory at the Liberty Stadium elevated Sunderland to within a point of safety but the heavy defeat at Tottenham Hotspur has again seen the gap increased.

Patrick van Aanholt has been much improved recently

Patrick van Aanholt has been much improved recently

Here's what we learned from the Spurs defeat:

1) Sam Allardyce's tactical changes backfired.

Let's start with an obvious one, hey?

With the game evenly poised at 1-1 Allardyce, withdrew Danny Graham from the left wing and replaced him with debutant Jan Kirchhoff.

Yann M'Vila in action against Spurs at White Hart Lane

Yann M'Vila in action against Spurs at White Hart Lane

As well as a change in personnel, the Black Cats boss changed the formation from a 4-2-3-1 to a 5-3-2, presumably in a bid to shore up the game as a draw would have been a good result.

Yet, it backfired spectacularly.

Kirchhoff endured a nightmare debut and a point was thrown away.

2) Has there ever been a worse debut?

It is the question a lot of Sunderland fans were asking following the first sight of Kirchhoff in a Black Cats strip.

He entered the action with the game level yet within a minute of his arrival, Sunderland were trailing.

The Mousa Dembele goal had little to do with him but what followed certainly did.

Turning his back and throwing a lazy leg towards Christian Eriksen's shot deflected it past Jordan Pickford.

He failed to track back with any speed or urgency and conceded a blatant penalty.

In short, a nightmare.

3) Patrick van Aanholt has turned his season around.

Laughed at as the pantomime villain in the early stages of this season, van Aanholt has turned it around to become a key player for Allardyce.

Two goals in two games has certainly helped his cause and his strike at Spurs was a fine effort.

Still plenty to work on but he has also improved his defensive game too.

The Dutch left-back has pace to burn and that is a major asset in a team lacking fast players.

Only really Jeremain Lens offers a similar burst of power.

4) Three away games and 1,800 miles in a week not to blame for defeat.

Sadly, Sunderland brought defeat at White Hart Lane all on themselves.

Individual errors and tactical tweaks were the downfall.

Kirchhoff had a mare, Lee Cattermole should have stopped Eriksen's goalbound shot going in and Allardyce will no doubt be regretting his tactical changes.

There were some tired legs second half, which was no surprise given they had a pulsating game against Swansea City just over 48-hours before.

But while it was a contributing factor, it wasn't the reason why they lost.

5) Costel Pantilimon looks to have played his final game for Sunderland.

It was no great surprise Allardyce chose to go with Jordan Pickford in goal given Vito Mannone's shaky performance at Swansea City.

And after another impressive display beyond his years, Pickford is in pole position to remain as the club's No 1 for the rest of the season and many more to come.

Mannone was on the bench and with Pantilimon being the higher wage earner between the two, expect him to be sold this month.

Harsh, perhaps, given he hadn't done much wrong in the build-up to being dropped.

But Pickford has grabbed his opportunity with both gloves.

6) Gap increased again but no need to panic. Just yet.

Defeat to Spurs was a blow, clearly.

But it is far from a fatal one.

What it does do, is crank up the pressure on the MASSIVE AFC Bournemouth game this coming Saturday at the Stadium of Light.

Yet, if Sunderland were to pull off a win, then it would make it three wins out of four, with vital victories over their relegation rivals.

A lot of ifs and buts but Allardyce & Co would have settled for that run of results at the turn of the year.

There is a long way to go yet.