Billy Jones has been delighted with the impact Sam Allardyce has already had at Sunderland, insisting the only way is up for the Wearside club.
The Black Cats have battled against relegation all too often in the recent past, so when they started the current campaign in dismal form they turned to Allardyce to succeed Dick Advocaat earlier this month. This new era began with a 1-0 loss at West Bromwich Albion, but the Stadium of Light was rocking following a 3-0 win over Newcastle United on Sunday afternoon.
This was Sunderland’s first Premier League win of the season, and it was enough to lift them from the bottom of the table. Although they remain in the relegation places after 10 rounds of fixtures, they are just two points behind Bournemouth and, with Allardyce now pulling the strings, defender Jones has revealed he and his team-mates have been given a boost of confidence.
“We have already benefited from the new gaffer’s ideas and now we have to follow it up,” he said. “We were down before he came but he has brought back some belief by basically saying, ‘if you do what I say, I show you what to do and you do it, then we will win games’. If you have a manager who believes that and the players believe it too, we will win games.
“He puts real emphasis on the defensive side. He tries to simplify things. He tells us the right times to squeeze, the angles to squeeze and just getting back to basics which is what we needed. He was probably the perfect option. The work we have put in so far, the analysis we do and the stats we look at, is a total flip side to what the previous manager was doing.”
Next up for Allardyce and his team is a potentially tricky trip to Merseyside to face Everton on Sunday afternoon. The Toffees have lost their last two matches – 3-0 at home to Manchester United and 2-1 at Arsenal – but scraped past Norwich City on penalties in the League Cup on Tuesday, and Roberto Martinez will hope this will give his players a boost ahead of the weekend.