Sam Allardyce is hoping his Sunderland side can turn in a resilient performance when they visit St Mary’s tomorrow.
The Black Cats boss saw his team edge out of the relegation zone on goal difference, after a 2-2 home draw with Crystal Palace on Tuesday, and he is hoping they can build on that this weekend.
Having not kept a clean sheet since a 2-0 win at home to Stoke City in late November, Allardyce wants his side to put in a strong defensive display first and foremost against Saints.
“It will be a very tough game, as always,” he said. “I like the ground, St Mary’s. It feels a great atmosphere. I’ve had some really good matches there at all the clubs I’ve had.
“I actually got a point with West Ham last year with nine-and-a-half men, which was Andy Carroll limping for the last 25 minutes, and I had no other subs to put on after goalie was sent off.
“If we can be as resilient as that and maybe score a goal when we get the chance, hopefully we can come away with [something]. A result would be ok, but if we get that win it would be fabulous.”
Allardyce also praised the work done by Saints manager Ronald Koeman since the Dutchman arrived at the club in the summer of 2014.
“Ronald has handled the introduction to the Premier League masterfully, as far as I’m concerned,” said Allardyce.
“I think taking control of a football club that was selling its big stars at the time and, obviously the recruitment policy that he gets involved with, they seem to have a very good one, that the players they replaced for all the big money that they got seemed to make the team just as good as it was the season before.”