David Moyes has been buoyed by what he has seen from Jermain Defoe in training this week as he seeks to lift Sunderland out of relegation trouble.
Defoe marked his return to international football with a typically composed finish in England’s 2-0 win against Lithuania last weekend – and Moyes says he has returned to Wearside looking in top form.
The Black Cats’ boss said: “I thought in training, as a lot players do when they come back from international football, he’d come back with a bit of a spring in his step – that bit of brightness about him.
“Especially when you’ve played for England and scored a goal, so hopefully we can turn that into goals for Sunderland.
“But it is about the other players as well, we need them to make the goals, create the goals for him, to score goals themselves as we’ve talked about a lot.”
Sunderland head into tomorrow’s crucial game with Watford in desperate need of a goal scoring boost.
Apart from the blitz at Selhurst Park on February 4, the Black Cats have struggled to find the back of the net in 2017, without a goal since that 4-0 away win.
Moyes wants to see a repeat of that showing and for his team to carry on where they left off against Burnley, in the 0-0 draw a fortnight ago.
The Black Cats were poor in the first half but rallied well after half-time and should have scored at least once in a much-improved second-half display.
Moyes said: “We need to go similar [aggressive]. I thought Burnley was the game we created more chances than in any game this season really, or what you would class as clear opportunities.
“We have to try and do that again.
“I’d also like a performance similar to Crystal Palace away from home. That would be the ideal scenario.
“The big thing always is not to concede goals. We didn’t concede against Burnley and we had the chances – just, on the day, we didn’t take them.”
Moyes is waiting to see how Walter Mazzarri’s Watford line up as they seek to end a poor run of form of their own.
The Hornets have predominantly played with Younes Kaboul at the heart of a back three this season, but poor form has seen the Italian manager experiment with a flat back four.
Moyes said: “They’ve chopped and changed a bit. They’d probably predominantly prefer to play with a back three but have played with a back four.
“We’ve probably been the same ourselves recently, we’ve had one or two results with a back three, a couple of clean sheets recently with a back four.”