GUS POYET has backed Connor Wickham’s contribution to Sunderland’s attack, despite the Black Cats drawing a blank at Leicester City.
Sunderland failed to find the net for the sixth time in 12 Premier League outings this season after a stalemate at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
But Sunderland head coach Poyet was encouraged by the link-up play between the front three of Wickham, Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson – believing it was as slick as the trio have looked all season.
Wickham, in particular, was praised by Poyet, with the 21-year-old beginning to find his feet in the left-sided forward role the striker has been forced to occupy after the departure of last season’s loanee Fabio Borini.
“Sometimes people are a bit unfair on Connor,” said Poyet.
“He’s doing a terrific job for us. He’s given us something we couldn’t find in the summer.
“We couldn’t find that Fabio Borini style.
“He’s linking it well, changing flanks with Jonno. He created chances.
“I think it was one of the best games that the front three have played, although we didn’t score.
“It’s a balance.
“Overall, I was pleased. I was just seeing what we could change to win it.
“But you need to be realistic sometimes, if you can’t win it, don’t throw it away.”
Sunderland came closest to finding the breakthrough at the King Power Stadium, with Leicester stopper Kasper Schmeichel producing a superb stop to deny Fletcher before then thwarting Johnson’s long-range effort.
Poyet believes that if Sunderland had got their noses in front from those first-half opportunities, it may have proved sufficient, with Leicester failing to find the net for the fifth straight game.
“I think we had the best chance of the game with Fletcher in the first half,” added Poyet.
“If we had scored in the first half – that was one of the best actions we’ve done this year, the passing, the movement and even the finish – then the game would have been completely different.
“Then you can really control it because they need to push forward and there’s spaces.
“The problem is the game after 65-70 minutes became tense – I want to win it, but I don’t want to lose it.
“In the end, it was probably a fair 0-0.
“We were a good team and I’m very pleased with the way we played.
“Sometimes that’s not enough. But we will play worse and win this season.”