RICKY ALVAREZ is glad to have given Sunderland supporters a demonstration of his ability after putting an injury-ridden start to his Black Cats career behind him.
Alvarez opened his Sunderland account with a stunning individual goal in front of 4,000 travelling supporters at Craven Cottage last night, as the Black Cats secured their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
The Argentine international has been hampered by a series of injuries since arriving on loan from Italian giants Inter Milan last summer – including a two-month lay-off with a knee problem.
But after showing flashes of his ability from the substitute’s bench, Alvarez shone from the start against Championship outfit Fulham to help Sunderland to back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
Alvarez told the Echo: “It was a very important goal, but the most important thing was that it helped us get the result that we wanted.
“We got the reward for a very good performance. I’ve been here for a few months and I’ve had my injury problems.
“But now I’m back with a lot of confidence to show the supporters what I can do.”
Sunderland did it the hard way last night after conceding a sloppy first half goal from a corner, despite completely dominating the opening 45 minutes.
But it didn’t faze Gus Poyet’s side, who continued in the same vein after the break, albeit it required a hefty slice of fortune when Fulham keeper Marcus Bettinelli bundled the ball into his own net.
Alvarez put Sunderland ahead, before Jordi Gomez sealed a fifth round trip to League One Bradford City when he converted a stoppage time penalty.
“It was important to get another win after the Burnley game,” added Alvarez. “We need to keep going now, and growing our confidence to get more positive results in the Premier League.
“I thought we played really well throughout the whole game and were unlucky with the goal we conceded.
“That’s something we need to improve. But we have to play in that same way in the games ahead.”