Monday 19 February 2018

We were lucky says Advocaat

Everton 0 Sunderland 2

Danny Graham celebrates scoring Sunderland's first goal against Everton yesterday
Danny Graham celebrates scoring Sunderland's first goal against Everton yesterday
Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat knows his side were lucky to pick up all three points against Everton yesterday
Jermain Defoe celebrates after scoring the second goal for Sunderland

Carl Markham

Sunderland head coach Dick Advocaat admitted his side's win at Everton was lucky but not undeserved as the Black Cats edged closer to Premier League survival.

Their first goal, from Danny Graham - the first in his 28 months at the club - had a slice of fortune as the striker deflected Jordi Gomez's shot, and when James McCarthy's shot beat goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon but hit the post, there was a feeling it was to be Sunderland's day.

Jermain Defoe then diverted home Adam Johnson's deflected shot, lifting his side to 36 points, with fellow strugglers Leicester to visit the Stadium of Light next week.

"We were lucky today," said Advocaat. "At moments they outplayed us, but our back five, including the goalkeeper, did really well. It was not a great game but at the other end it was effective. It is not only luck, they worked hard."

Advocaat again selected three up front, with Defoe and Connor Wickham either side of Graham. "I like that," he said. "If we play three, the other side has to be careful."

Sunderland have taken 10 points from the six matches Advocaat has been in charge, but he admitted he did not enjoy the relegation battle. "I still enjoy it the other way (the top end of the table)," he said.

Everton had scored in their previous seven league matches, but a first home defeat of 2015 was frustrating for manager Roberto Martinez.

"You have to score goals," he said. "We cannot be happy with what happened in the 18-yard box. I don't think we were sharp enough. The technical aspect of the performance was very good and I thought we opened Sunderland up.

"Today, everything that could have gone against us in our box did, like a deflected shot the first time they got near our 18-yard box. The two goals are unfortunate. The second, John Stones gets impeded by Steven Fletcher."

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