We have two mas­sive home games to beat rel­e­ga­tion, says De­foe

Stoke City Ar­nau­tovic 50 1 Sun­der­land De­foe 90 pen 1 Att: 27,667

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - PREMIER LEAGUE - By John Percy

The North East bat­tle for sur­vival re­sem­bles a pair of vet­eran boxers stum­bling around the ring, scram­bling for the knock­out punch that ends the con­test. Sam Allardyce is back in the Pre­mier League’s bot­tom three and run­ning out of time but this re­sult felt sig­nif­i­cant ahead of two po­ten­tially piv­otal home games.

Jer­main De­foe res­cued a point in the fourth minute of added time from the penalty spot to breathe new life into Sun­der­land’s Pre­mier League safety mis­sion and, af­ter the game, there was only one other re­sult the team were in­ter­ested in.

“As soon as you come off, it’s the first ques­tion you ask,” said De­foe. “I asked how New­cas­tle got on and was told they had won. It’s not nice

when you have to rely on other re­sults as well, but we’ve got some mas­sive games com­ing up and it’s in our own hands. We have to use these next two games to get our­selves into a sit­u­a­tion where we’re out of the bot­tom three go­ing into the last game of the sea­son.

“What­ever else hap­pens, we want to be go­ing to Wat­ford know­ing that if we win, we’re def­i­nitely safe. That’s the chal­lenge for the next two games. It’s go­ing to be a mas­sive game on the last day of the sea­son.”

Sun­der­land will face Chelsea on Satur­day and then play their cru­cial game in hand the fol­low­ing Wed­nes­day against Ever­ton, en­sur­ing that des­tiny is in their own grasp. This could have been worse for Allardyce, af­ter Stoke missed a string of chances, but New­cas­tle’s nar­row vic­tory over Crys­tal Palace was dif­fi­cult for him to take.

“Am I con­cerned about New­cas­tle? I’m not sur­prised be­cause they spent a huge amount of money and they’ve got qual­ity play­ers. They’ve had a bit of for­tune, haven’t they, whereas we didn’t have any [at Stoke],” he said.

Stoke ended a run of three suc­ces­sive de­feats but were left to re­flect on ref­eree Craig Paw­son’s sig­nif­i­cant mo­ment, af­ter Ge­off Cameron was judged to have pulled down De­foe in the penalty area. Marko Ar­nau­tovic had given Stoke the lead with his 11th goal of the sea­son, which was his fi­nal con­tri­bu­tion be­fore de­part­ing with an in­jury – and it could be one of his fi­nal ap­pear­ances at the Bri­tan­nia Sta­dium. Stoke have hit dead­lock in their at­tempts to agree a new deal with the Aus­tria in­ter­na­tional, who said: “My part is to show good per­for­mances on the pitch and to make Stoke City happy. The con­tract is be­ing dealt with by my brother – it’s not my de­ci­sion.”

Late show: Jer­main De­foe’s penalty gave his side hope

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.