David Moyes salutes Patrick van Aanholt after draw with West Brom
Published 01/10/2016 | 18:31
Under-pressure Sunderland boss David Moyes was rewarded for his bravery after seeing Patrick van Aanholt rescue just a second Premier League point of the season from the jaws of defeat.
The 26-year-old Dutchman, who started the afternoon on the bench, scored an 83rd-minute equaliser to clinch a 1-1 draw with West Brom at the Stadium of Light.
It came at the end of an eventful few weeks which had seen him withdrawn from the team minutes before kick-off at Tottenham on the advice of a cardiologist and pictured apparently smoking a shisha pipe,
Van Aanholt had been introduced as a 56th-minute replacement for the injured Jan Kirchhoff and lined up in midfield rather than his more accustomed left-back role.
Moyes said: "We had been training Pat further forward this week in a couple of sessions to see how it looked. But the one thing with Pat is he gets some goals - he scored the goal against Middlesbrough.
"He's got a couple of goals already, Pat, which if you said at the end of the season a left-back gets you two, three, four goals, you'd be saying that's quite a good return.
"But what we need is everybody else to get the goals, then it looks like your left-back has done well."
Jermain Defoe had earlier passed up two glorious opportunities with Moyes admitting it was a rarity to see him miss.
He said: "We are just so used to when Jermain gets it and pulls the trigger, so often it's in the back of the net."
Van Aanholt's contribution, which cancelled out Nacer Chadli's 35th-minute opener, spared his side a fourth home league defeat of the season and a return of just a single point from his first seven league games, a record which cost one of his predecessors, Paolo Di Canio, his job three years ago.
It also lifted the club from the foot of the table on goal difference with Stoke replacing them ahead of their trip to Manchester United on Sunday.
However, Moyes said: "Obviously, we see it as points dropped, not as a point gained, but with 10 minutes to go, I'd have taken a point because we hadn't got one then."
Baggies manager Tony Pulis was disappointed to emerge with only a point, and particularly so because Van Aanholt's shot was mishit.
Pulis said: "We are disappointed. We had over 20 crosses, 18 shots and we had the opportunity. We needed the second goal.
"The goal was disappointing because he hits it into the ground. We have got two players in between him and the goal if he hits it, and we had made a couple of really good blocks prior to that, and he hits it into the ground and it goes in the top corner.
"But I am very, very pleased with the players. The players worked again hard. The running stats are very, very good, the stats going forward are good, but the big thing is that final third.
"We just need that little bit more quality. Chadli has been fantastic since we signed him. He's got that little bit of quality that you need. He slows the game down, the makes the right pass most times and his goal was real quality.
"You look at [Jonny] Evans, [Darren] Fletcher, Chadli, Salomon [Rondon] up front as well - those four have been really good additions to the group, and I was really disappointed for the group afterwards because they have worked so hard."