Sam Allardyce urges Sunderland to kick on after back-to-back wins
Photo: Sunderland AFC

Sam Allardyce remains grounded after Sunderland's 2-0 win over Stoke City, saying that his side have to stay focused on avoiding the drop despite climbing out of the relegation zone.

Goals from Patrick van Aanholt and Duncan Watmore gave the Black Cats victory at the Stadium of Light following Ryan Shawcross' red card for the visitors, meaning that the Wearside outfit have now won back-to-back Premier League games.

However, Allardyce is looking for his team to continue to pick up results on a more consistent basis instead of performing another great but late escape, and so is remaining realistic despite improvements.

Allardyce aiming for safety as quickly as possible

Speaking to the press after Sunderland's win, via ESPN, the manager admitted that avoiding relegation must still be focused on and that his players must not get ahead of themselves after another win.

"We might be out of the bottom three," he said, but "relegation" is still a huge threat looking at the team's "points per games played".

With 12 points from 14 games seeing the Black Cats sat just one place above the drop, Allardyce is right to emphasise the reality of things, adding that the focus for his team should be on ensuring they "continue to lessen [the] gap" in their points per game ratio.

Things have started positively for the former Newcastle United manager on Wearside though, and with them "winning three in the first six" games he has taken charge of, Sunderland are certainly moving in the direction "where [they] want to be going".

This win followed Monday's 1-0 result at Crystal Palace, Sunderland's first three points on the road this season, and took the team's tally of victories up to three for the season, with their success in the Tyne-Wear derby getting the ball rolling.

With momentum building, Allardyce was keen to stress that "the quicker" Sunderland can start to move up the standings, "the better," as he does not "really want" to do what previous managers have, in "[having] to win a huge amount of games in the last six or eight matches".

Instead, he has urged his players to "try not to get there" and instead move away from danger "as quickly as [they] can".

Praise for effective Watmore

The game-changing moment in the Stoke victory was undoubtedly Shawcross' red card, but another pivotal event was certainly the introduction of goal-scorer Watmore. 

The 21-year-old winger came on just past the half hour mark to replace the injured Jermain Defoe, and his impact was tremendous, with him showing great desire, tenacity and directness in his play.

Allardyce recognised the substitute's performance too, saying that his recent success "doesn't get any better," but that the club must now ensure "he keeps his feet on the ground".

Duncan Watmore was electric off the bench for Sunderland, scoring the final goal of the game. (Photo: Sunderland AFC)
Duncan Watmore was electric off the bench for Sunderland, scoring the final goal of the game. (Photo: Sunderland AFC)

The manager continued to praise Watmore, saying that he has been impressed with what he has "shown" him "in the short time" he has worked with him.

"He caused the central defenders so many problems," Allardyce said, meaning "they had to resort to fouling him" to stop him - "which got Shawcross sent off."

With three goals to his name already this season despite starting just one game, Watmore may be viewed as a super sub option for the Black Cats at the moment, but if he continues to perform this well then he will force himself into the starting line-up sooner rather than later.

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