Sunderland boss David Moyes hails ‘handful’ Victor Anichebe after first full 90 minutes for Black Cats

Victor Anichebe battles against Southampton. Picture by Frank Reid

Victor Anichebe battles against Southampton. Picture by Frank Reid

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Victor Anichebe started his first game for Sunderland in the EFL Cup defeat to Southampton – and won praise from his manager.

The 28-year-old joined the Black Cats on a free after deadline day after being released by West Brom in the summer.

He missed pre-season and has been slowly building up his match sharpness since but was finally ready to make his first start at St Mary’s Stadium last night.

Anichebe led the line against Claude Puel’s youthful Saints side. He was starved of service in the opening 45 minutes but grew into the game well.

He was denied a clear penalty in the 90th minute – a decision which saw manager David Moyes sent to the stands – in an encouraging second-half display.

Moyes, who gave Anichebe his debut at Everton, said: “I thought Victor did really well and was a handful. He gave us a different outlook all night and we went to him.

“When we went a goal down I had to give him longer than 65 minutes.”

Moyes is considering playing Anichebe alongside Jermain Defoe in future but admits he needs to strike the right balance, with Sunderland used to playing one up front in the 4-2-3-1 system.

Moyes added: “In the future it might be a temptation to play them both but we don’t want to change too much to the midfield because they need to get the ball to the forwards too.

“You need to get the balance right.”