Dick Advocaat is convinced Sunderland will pick up plenty of points this season if they play the way they did against Tottenham – but admits they also need a bit more luck.
The Black Cats slipped back to the foot of the Premier League table as a result of their 1-0 reverse at the hands of Spurs, who snatched the points at the Stadium of Light on Sunday through Ryan Mason’s 82nd-minute winner.
But having watched a team bolstered by the additions of late transfer window additions Fabio Borini and Ola Toivonen take the game to the visitors for much of the contest, Sunderland boss Advocaat walked away feeling positive.
The 67-year-old Dutchman said: “I said to the players, ‘If the fans are proud of you when you lose a game, but you give everything, it can only be better’.
“And believe me, if we play the way we played today and give everything, the points will come because that’s football.
“The way we played, I have not seen many games from us that we have played this way, this system and attacking-wise and the spirit in the team, the passing – that’s a little bit the way I like, and now we need a few more goals at the right time.”
Sunderland were desperately unfortunate not to take a 26th-minute lead after Jermain Defoe beat keeper Hugo Lloris with a right-footed shot, only to see the ball come back off the foot of the post.
The former Spurs striker was appealing in vain for a penalty before the break after being tugged back by defender Toby Alderweireld a split-second before he tested Lloris with a left-foot strike.
Sunderland’s luck deserted them once again five minutes from time when substitute Jack Rodwell rattled the crossbar with Lloris beaten.
Advocaat said: “It was maybe a penalty with Defoe when he pulls his arm – he can give it, he cannot give it – but sometimes you need a little bit of luck for a referee to give that.
“But I have some problems with 1-0 because our team worked so hard to get a result and one point would have been a really good result against a side as good as Spurs.”
Sunderland travel to Bournemouth in their next Premier League match on Saturday and the Black Cats are long odds to pick up a victory on the south coast.