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Sunderland's defence has a disease: Moyes

Press Association logoPress Association 21/01/2017

Conceding poor goals has become a "disease" for Sunderland, according to manager David Moyes.

The Black Cats are back at the bottom of the Premier League table after a 2-0 defeat to West Brom.

Darren Fletcher and Chris Brunt were on target for the Baggies with superb strikes but Moyes felt both goals were avoidable.

"Our overall level of play wasn't so bad, even in the first half, but we are giving away goals and goals change matches," Moyes said.

"We played better in the second half but, and I've said it before recently, we're giving poor goals away at the moment. We are doing everything we can to stop it from happening but it's a disease we've got at the moment.

"You've got to press players and put your body in where it hurts sometimes, put your face in there if needs be and hope you'll get dangerous play.

"But take nothing away from Darren Fletcher's goal, it was terrific. We gave them too much time but, again, the second goal was a brilliant strike as well."

Moyes' team had actually started well, without ever worrying Ben Foster in the home goal, but all started to go wrong for Sunderland just before the half-hour mark as West Brom applied some pressure for the first time.

Sunderland survived when Salomon Rondon's goalbound header hit teammate Matty Phillips inside the six-yard box and the ball deflected inches wide. However, with 30 minutes on the clock the Baggies went ahead when Fletcher brilliantly brought the ball down on his chest inside the box and sent a volley beyond Vito Mannone.

Rondon saw another goal-bound shot blocked, this time by Sunderland defender John O'Shea, but the visitors were rocking and they were soon two goals behind.

A Nacer Chadli strike hit the crossbar before Mannone denied Phillips once more, but Brunt pounced on the rebound to crash home a volley from the edge of the penalty area after 36 minutes.

Despite a ninth defeat in 11 Premier League away matches this season, Sunderland are only three points adrift of safety.

West Brom stay eighth after a fifth win in six home matches and they extend the gap to four points over ninth-placed Stoke, who bought Saido Berahino from the Baggies on Friday.

Pulis happy to grab the three points but felt Sunderland weren't too far from turning things around.

"You've got to give credit to Sunderland because they could have thrown the towel in but they had a right go in the second half and made it difficult for us," said Pulis.

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