David Moyes is hoping the bonds built in New York will soon begin to show in Sunderland’s points total.
The players returned to action at Goodison Park a fortnight after their collapse against Southampton and while the performance was certainly an improvement, they were left empty-handed again, three points adrift of safety.
I hope that run that I keep talking about is not too far away
The Black Cats are perhaps fortunate not be further adrift given their poor form in 2017, and Moyes is hoping that the trip can spark a run of points, as it did when took his Everton side while in charge on Merseyside.
He said: “I hope it shows. I remember we went there with Everton and we came back and had a great run after it. I hope that run that I keep talking about is not too far away.”
Moyes has consistently defended his players this season in terms of their work-rate and application, and did so again in the aftermath of their latest setback.
The New York trip was divisive, coming just days after the heavy defeat to Southampton, and has come in for further criticism from some fans after the Everton loss and the announcement of imminent redundancies for some of the club’s non-football staff.
Moyes previously stated it was wrong to conflate the two issues, with a ‘realignment’ behind the scenes planned for some time.
He insists that on the field it is a question of quality and not endeavour for his side, after criticising their play in possession during an insipid first-half showing.
Without that extra class the Scot is convinced that it the players will have to show heart and toughness to clamber out of the bottom three. That is particularly important in accepting criticism from their boss, and he hopes the trip stateside can help in those departments.
Moyes said: “As a manager I have to find ways of winning. I said they are giving their all. I think they are lacking a bit of quality. I’ve got to find a bit of spirit, a bit of heart and a bit of toughness. I need them all that, when I’m getting on at them, that they are accepting it because they know it is for the best of the team.”