Dick Advocaat is confident he has found a way forward despite seeing Sunderland slip back to the foot of the Barclays Premier league table.
A side boosted by the return Fabio Borini to the Stadium of Light and a first start for fellow summer acquisition Ola Toivonen took the game to Tottenham for long periods and twice hit the woodwork, only to succumb to 1-0 defeat courtesy of Ryan Mason’s 82nd-minute strike.
Advocaat, who had pleaded with owner Ellis Short to add quality to his squad, was understandably disappointed with the result, but upbeat about the Black Cats’ prospects for the remainder of the season.
He said: “I think the crowd liked the way we played. It’s a really attractive way of playing, only we did not get the points we deserved.
“Again with all respect to Spurs – they have a really good side, but I think one point was for us a good result.
“If you keep going this way, you’re creating your chances, you have players who can do something in a one-on-one situation with (Jeremain) Lens and Fabio, and Toivonen – we saw some good moments, in my opinion, and that gives a good feeling.”
Things might have been different for the home side had Jermain Defoe’s 26th-minute shot not come back off the post after Lens had played him in, but even that was a source of some comfort to Advocaat after he handed the former Spurs man the chance to play his favoured central role.
He said: “I always said he cannot play on his own, but now we have a different situation with Toivonen. Normally I play with a holding midfielder, now it’s an attacking midfielder more in his direction.”
The game was won when Harry Kane and substitute Erik Lamela combined to set up Mason to finish off a move he had started, although substitute Jack Rodwell almost snatched a point when he crashed a shot against the bar five minutes from time.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino said: “It was very good, a great goal. It showed how we want to play, how we try to play, our philosophy. This is how we want to play.
“It was fantastic, for me. As a manager and a coach, it’s fantastic when you score in the way that we scored today.”
Mason injured his knee in the act of scoring and the damage will be assessed on Monday.
Have something to tell us about this article?