Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce paid tribute to Jermain Defoe after the striker rescued a late point from the penalty spot against Stoke on Saturday.
The Black Cats, despite their 1-1 draw, dropped into the relegation zone due to Newcastle’s win over Crystal Palace, but they have a game in hand at home to Everton and their destiny is still in their own hands.
If Allardyce does keep Sunderland up then he ought to be donating his survival bonus to Defoe after the former Spurs man grabbed his 17th goal of the season from the spot deep in stoppage time.
“Where would we be without Jermain Defoe? Relegated probably. The other lads haven’t scored enough goals, Jermain has kept us close to be out of trouble,” said Allardyce.
“I am going home satisfied it is a point gained rather than two dropped.
“We have our destiny in our own hands and have got to play better so if the referee slips up we have got to make sure it doesn’t cost us. It was a scruffy scrappy game, we have got to win that game in hand and certainly next week against Chelsea.”
Defoe, who won the penalty after being felled by Geoff Cameron, told Sky Sports: “I thought we played well today, first half was scrappy but it is a difficult place to come. I thought they played well but you always need that bit of luck and we got it in the end.
“Everyone worked hard and put a shift in and we will fight to the end. The lads gave the ball to me and I was confident I would score.
“I didn’t realise about any delay, when it is a penalty you try and relax and there was no negative thoughts in my mind. It is a massive relief, we will take the point.
“It is a brilliant point in the end but for me one that could have been a win rather than the draw. Obviously they didn’t deserve their goal because it was a blatant foul on Younes Kaboul and we should have had a penalty when Geoff Cameron flicks the ball with his hand and referee and his assistant don’t see it.
“Those things have gone against us today which has not allowed us to be in a position to win it.
“It is a very precious point and in the end the referee was brave and good enough to make the right decision for us for the penalty.”