Premier League reaction: Rafa down; Big Sam buoyant

Date published: Saturday 7th May 2016 5:43

Rafa Benitez: His men missed chances

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce hailed his players’ desire after beating Chelsea, while Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez bemoaned missed chances at Aston Villa.

Sam Allardyce told the BBC: “It’s the first time we’ve come from behind to win a game of football this season and that shows the desire of the players, the quality of the players.

“The character and determination has shone through, along with the quality of our finishing at last. To see the players at half-time they were looking dejected and jaded, we sorted that defensive side out in the second half.

“The atmosphere is what makes players play well an the atmosphere today certainly enthused the players to give their all. Everton are better away from home than home, it’s going to be tough one but our destiny is in our own hands.”

“Our goalkeeper made two unbelievably good saves which has given us the platform to score two quick goals to get in front. Every man has done his job today and done it very well.

“You give Jermain Defoe a chance and generally at least hits the target. We’ve crawled out of the bottom three by the number of goals that he’s scored. Without him I dread to think where we’d be as a team.

“An extraordinary and nerve-wracking afternoon. Everything we experienced in our emotions we felt from the start going a goal down.

“That little bit change of tactics, by pushing Fabio Borini in the middle behind Jermain Defoe, has obviously paid off. It’s a wonderful comeback and wonderful for us. We’re the favourites now, Newcastle have been favourites all this week.

“Our destiny is in our hands and a win against Everton will secure our Premier League future. It will be difficult but we have an opportunity to achieve it, let’s hope we can.

“Since the turn of the year we’ve been so near yet so far from so many victories, but today, for a change, we’ve come from being behind twice and come back to win the game and it shows the character of the players.”


Sunderland matchwinner Jermain Defoe: “It was a difficult game but we managed to do it. Unbelievable character from the boys, everyone worked hard. We have always been confident, never thought about being relegated.

“It’s not done yet. We must recover and we’ve got a big game on Wednesday.”

Sunderland goalscorer Fabio Borini added: “In terms of intensity, quality, fightback, it’s unbelievable from all of us. We kept believing and showed that we are Sunderland.

“(The crowd were) unbelievable, and we need that again on Wednesday because that made the difference when we went down 2-1 and kept us going.

“We have to do it this week. We have the focus, we don’t have negative thoughts of relgation, we only have positive thoughts and we’ve seen it today. We know how important it is to stay in the Premier League because of all the TV rights and Sunderland as a football club and city deserve to stay in the Premier League.”


Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink, speaking to BBC Sport, said: “It was a very intense game. For Sunderland it was a must-win game, for us it was a would-like-to-win game.

“In the first half we played rather well and could have scored at least one more. The Sunderland crowd was unconditional for their team, I think the team got very encouraged with this help.

“In the second half we have at least one or two open chances with Diego Costa. They got a lot of energy they produced the win. John Terry was a double yellow, I think it was a little bit over the top the decision.”


Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez: “We are disappointed. Sunderland won, so all we can do now is wait for the score of that game and now try to win our game.

“We were a little bit anxious in the first half. We were not comfortable in possession. You have to take your chances and we didn’t do that.

“We had to change things in the second half. We did that, but it was not enough. The players are disappointed.

“It was an opportunity to stay ahead of Sunderland and we couldn’t do it.”


Swansea boss Francesco Guidolin, said: “I was not surprised because I know my group, my squad. It’s not a surprise because we have a good group and many good players. I am happy for them, because today all day they played a good match. I am happy – congratulations to my players.

“Our season is not finished and my team is not on the beach. We showed this in recent weeks against both Liverpool and now West Ham, and I hope also next against Manchester City.”


West Ham captain Mark Noble said: “We started so well and had three or four early chances. With a little more luck we could have taken the lead. But we were caught on the counter-attack a couple of times and it was a struggle from there. Swansea finished their chances really well.

“A bad day at the office, that’s what it was. It can happen in this league. Tuesday will be a special night and we will try to enjoy ourselves.”


West Ham manager Slaven Bilic said: “I’m not that disappointed with our play with the ball, but without the ball we had too many passengers, relying on someone else to get the ball and play it to me in a good position. If you approach a game like that it makes it very difficult.

“I don’t think the occasion can be an excuse – if anything it should motivate you to be more disciplined. We were ill-disciplined.

“We basically let Swansea get in good, dangerous positions without needing to play great football.”

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