first_imgSunderland head coach Gus Poyet saluted striker Steven Fletcher after seeing him emerge from the shadows to fire the club to a first Barclays Premier League victory of the season. “Now we can say we have lost one in seven, which honestly if you talk about the last few years here at Sunderland, you need to think that something is going quite well. “It hasn’t happened too many times. We have started, now we need to confirm that, but I can see the team is stronger, the group is stronger.” Mark Hughes, whose Stoke side had won 2-1 at Sunderland in the Capital One Cup 11 days earlier, admitted the visitors had got what they deserved. He said: “It was not great from us today, to be perfectly honest. We didn’t really defend correctly or with any kind of purpose in that opening period and as a consequence, we gave up two goals, two really easy goals. “Sunderland, to their credit, were able to win the game quite comfortably. We didn’t ask enough questions of them. They probably had three strikes on goal and scored three goals.” Hughes revealed after the game that Victor Moses, who lasted just 18 minutes, had limped off with a recurrence of the thigh problem he felt after Monday night’s win over Newcastle, while Poyet admitted he had several concerns with Ricky Alvarez, Sebastian Coates and Emanuele Giaccherini all missing. He said: “We have got two or three players who are going to be out for a while, which doesn’t look good. We need a squad.” Scotland international Fletcher, who did not even make the matchday 18 for the clash with Tottenham last month, marked his return to the starting line-up with a decisive double as the Black Cats saw off Stoke 3-1 at the Stadium of Light. Poyet said: “I am very pleased for Fletch because I know how hard it was for him to be in the situation where a few weeks ago, I left him out of the squad. Decisions, like I always say. “He was not happy, but he took it professionally and kept working. The previous week before we played Swansea, we were able to see something special in Fletch, he was coming back in training to his best. “He had a chance to score the other day against Swansea, and this really was outstanding. “I always say, the first way for you to be picked is Saturday, 3pm – if you play well, then you have got a better chance of playing next week; the second part is training every day. “If you are good in training every day, I don’ think there’s a manager who is not going to play you. Fletch deserved to play today.” Fletcher needed just five minutes to start paying off Poyet’s faith in him when he provided the cross from which Connor Wickham headed the Black Cats in front with his first league goal of the season. He got his own name on the score sheet with his first Premier League strike since December 28 with 23 minutes gone to cancel out Charlie Adam’s equaliser, and was then in the right place at the right time 11 minutes from time when Wickham returned the favour to hand him his second of the day. Poyet was delighted to have ended his wait for a league victory this season at the seventh attempt. He said: “It’s better – now you’re not going to ask me about us not winning. You’ve been asking for the last five weeks. Press Associationlast_img

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