David Moyes has praised the impact made by Sunderland’s new signing Bryan Oviedo and returning African Nations Cup duo Lamine Kone and Didier Ndong.
On Saturday Sunderland impressively won 4-0 at relegation rivals Crystal Palace, with Kone and Ndong on the scoresheet before Jermain Defoe’s double, to secure their biggest away victory since they defeated Bradford by the same scoreline in 1999.
The win, in which Oviedo was handed his debut, was their first of 2017 and came after an improved and resilient performance in Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Tottenham, when Kone and Ndong were again available.
Tuesday’s result ended a run of three successive defeats and after Moyes strengthened his squad in January and Saturday’s victory took his 20th-placed team to within two points of climbing out of the bottom three, the wider picture surrounding their season has become far more positive.
“Getting them back has been very big for us,” the Sunderland manager said of the Ivory Coast’s Kone and Gabon’s Ndong.
“They played against Tottenham in midweek and they were great in that game as well.
“Kone has done really well and he played well again (at Palace). Ndong is young and sometimes we expect a bit too much of him, but he has great energy and he scored a good goal.
“We’ve missed them both in January.
“Our left-back (Oviedo) was terrific because he was up against Wilfried Zaha, who we know is a real threat.
“Against Tottenham we were very resilient, but we didn’t play very well. (At Palace) we played much better.”
Moyes also recruited Joleon Lescott and Darron Gibson during the January transfer window, finally giving his squad the options they have needed, but was left concerned after the impressive Adnan Januzaj, Jack Rodwell and John O’Shea suffered injuries in Saturday’s victory.
“(Januzaj) had a bit of a hip injury, but he played very well and he played the pass for Jermain’s second goal,” said Moyes, 53.
“Rodwell came off feeling his hamstring, which is a real blow for us because he has started to come into a bit better form.
“We’ve brought a couple of players in, but we just can’t afford to be losing any. John O’Shea was also feeling his hamstring a little bit.”