David Moyes insists Sunderland can see the light at the end of the tunnel despite another defeat, this time at Southampton in the EFL Cup.
Sofiane Boufal’s wonder strike knocked the Black Cats, bottom of the Premier League without a win all season, out of the only competition that has provided a glimmer of hope on Wearside.
To add to Moyes’ misery he was sent to the stands after disputing referee Chris Kavanagh’s decision not to award a last-gasp penalty when Maya Yoshida tripped Victor Anichebe in the area.
But the Sunderland boss said: “We didn’t deserve to lose that’s for sure. We were in the game, we had good chances and I thought the players performed well.
“Our luck’s at the moment out but it will change. The performances are getting better and that will lead to goals and to results. Our last couple of performances have merited more.”
— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) October 26, 2016
By contrast to Sunderland, Southampton’s record signing Boufal has hit the ground running as he marked his St Mary’s debut with a fabulous strike.
In the 66th minute of what had until then been a dull encounter, the 23-year-old Moroccan brought an up-and-under down with one sublime touch.
He then stepped around full-back Billy Jones and curled an unstoppable shot over the diving Jordan Pickford and inside the far post.
“I have to say it was a top-class goal,” admitted Moyes, while Saints manager Claude Puel beamed: “You can see his qualities. You can see he is a fantastic player.
“It was difficult for us against a strong team. I enjoyed the result, of course, for all my players, the experienced and the young ones.”
Southampton’s reward is a quarter-final trip to meet Arsenal and Puel’s fellow Frenchman Arsene Wenger.
“I would prefer of course to be at home,” added Puel, who fielded six academy graduates in a much-changed line-up.
“But it will be a good experience to see what we can do.”