Sunderland boss David Moyes eager to back up Jermain Defoe

Jermain Defoe
Jermain Defoe

David Moyes is desperate to see the efforts of star striker Jermain Defoe get rewarded with points rather than just platitudes.

The striker has been largely starved of possession as Sunderland have struggled in the opening weeks of the season.

It’s happened too often, certainly in my time here.

But, despite that, Defoe still has four Premier League goals to his name, just one shy of Sergio Aguero, Diego Costa and Michail Antonio.

The 34-year-old displayed his clinical attributes with two goals in the 3-2 defeat by Crystal Palace at the weekend, when fans and pundits united in the assertion that there was no way he should have ended on the losing side.

But the Black Cats conceded three second-half goals for the second home match running, the injury-time Christian Benteke winner being particularly galling.

Sunderland had conceded a needless free-kick and then got nowhere near Benteke who headed past the unfortunate Jordan Pickford.

“Jermain did what he had to do,” said Moyes.

“In truth, the boys up front did what they had to do to get us in front, Duncan [Watmore] had some great runs, showed great energy.

“But when required, the boys at the back didn’t do it.

“It’s happened too often, certainly in my time here.

“When we went 2-0 up it looked like we might be the ones to get a third goal.

“But we didn’t do the basics well enough.”

Meanwhile, former Sunderland head coach Paolo Di Canio has emeged as a contender for the now vacant Leyton Orient job.

The League Two club yesterday parted company with boss Andy Hessenthaler, who became the first managerial departure in the Football League this season following their three-match winless streak.

Di Canio has not worked in management since being sacked by Sunderland exactly three years ago.

His tenure at the Stadium of Light was relatively brief, yet eventful.

After taking over from Martin O’Neill, he famously managed the Black Cats to a 3-0 win over Newcastle at St James’s Park.

A bold, and controversial, appointment by Ellis Short, the Italian lasted just 13 games, winning only three of them.