Sunderland’s Premier League goal drought passed the 11 hour mark during the 3-0 defeat to Manchester United, and David Moyes knows his side must rediscover the clinical edge shown at Crystal Palace in February.
The Black Cats have not scored since the 45th minute of that win, when Jermain Defoe’s second gave the side a scarcely believable 4-0 lead at the break.
Moyes feels his team were not necessarily streets ahead of recent weeks in terms of the performance that day, instead ruthless in coverting the chances they did get on a day when their opponents dominated possession.
He said: “The finishing is the difference. I think if you sat and watched the Crystal Palace game again, you’d maybe think there isn’t that big a difference to that game to many of the ones we’ve played recently. We had probably on the day, five or six chances, and scored four.
“For long parts of the game Palace actually had a lot of the ball, but we were clinical on that day and we took those chances, scoring those three goals in three minutes. Except for the clinical finishing I don’t think you’d see that much difference.”
Victor Anichebe’s return to the side has offered hope that Sunderland can at least end the season closer to being on the front foot, the Nigerian a crucial part of the side, going close against both Leicester City and Manchester United upon his return.
In Anichebe’s absence Moyes turned to Fabio Borini to fill the void, often to the disappointment of many fans eager to see Wahbi Khazri given a starting berth.
Moyes admitted that the Italian has fallen short in his preferred centre forward position but he retains hope and belief that he can produce some crucial goals before the end of the season.
He said: “I think Fabio, folk are asking about goals, well I think if I took Fabio out of the team they’d be saying why? Because most seasons he’s tended to come up with five, six, seven goals. My hope is that he still will, and we haven’t had any alternatives which I feel could cover for him.
“I’ve had to play him because we’ve really had no wide players other than Adnan, with no Duncan Watmore, so Fabio has had to fill a place out there, we’ve definitely been short in that area. His energy gives us something as well but I would say that his performances haven’t been great.”