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Allardyce: 'We must go all out to win against Watford'

Sam Allardyce marked Sunderland's game against Watford this Saturday as a crucial one to win. The only way to relieve pressure on the players and move out of the bottom three, he said, is to 'win football matches'. And the players 'must go all out to win' this one.

He added that a win this weekend would mean the team had won four of its last eight games - figures that point to his successful management.

But Big Sam was more glum when talking about January's transfer window. Speculation about his intentions, combined with six games in twenty three days was a predictable but unnecessary added stress.

As for the team sheet - Jermain Defoe will be back in the squad, but Lee Cattermole and Sebastian Larsson remain out with injuries.

You can watch the whole of the press conference here:

SAFC: Defoe and Larsson to miss Arsenal clash

Sam Allardyce has confirmed Jermain Defoe and Sebastian Larsson will miss the team's match at the Emirates this weekend.

Sunderland's Jermain Defoe (left) and Sebastian Larsson at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland. Credit: PA

The Sunderland manager hopes striker Defoe will be back the following week, but has said he is less certain on the timescale of Larsson's return.

Watch Sunderland Manager Sam Allardyce's full press conference:

Match report: Sunderland 2-0 Stoke

Watmore celebrates his goal. Credit: PA

Duncan Watmore answered Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce's plea for an end product with a sweet strike to cement a 2-0 victory over 10-man Stoke.

The England Under-21 international rounded off a tense win five minutes from time and just three minutes after full-back Patrick van Aanholt had blasted the home side into the lead with a 25-yard piledriver.

Ryan Shawcross' controversial 47th-minute dismissal for a second bookable offence had opened the door for Allardyce's men, but they left it late to secure their first back-to-back victories of the campaign as City keeper Jack Butland provided stubborn resistance.

The win lifted Sunderland out of the Barclays Premier League's bottom three in front of a delighted crowd of 41,516, who eventually saw their patience rewarded in fine style.

The first half proved a tight affair as both sides defended deep and in numbers. Steven Fletcher led the Black Cats' line with some intent and Xherdan Shaqiri, Charlie Adam and Bojan Krkic buzzed about in midfield for the visitors but chances were few and far between.

Fletcher scuffed an eighth-minute shot into the arms of Butland after turning smartly on to Van Aanholt's cross and strike partner Jermain Defoe fired just wide 10 minutes later after neat footwork by Sebastian Larsson had played him into space.

Big Sam is working his magic. Credit: PA

Stoke started to make more of an impression as the half wore on, with Costel Pantilimon having to get down to collect the ball after Larsson's intervention had sent Shaqiri's cross towards the Sunderland goal while Bojan skied a long-range effort high and wide.

However, the game changed 14 minutes before the break when Defoe, who had earlier needed extensive treatment on the pitch, limped off to be replaced by livewire Watmore, who immediately started to put the Potters' defence under pressure as he ran at defenders at every opportunity.

But it took a fine reaction save from Pantilimon 12 minutes before the break to deny Jonathan Walters the opening goal when he met Erik Pieters' cross, but could not beat the Romanian from point-blank range.

Stoke suffered a major blow just two minutes after the restart when Shawcross, who had been booked before the break for a foul on Fletcher having earlier got away with a talking-to for felling Watmore, was cautioned for a second time for bringing down the Englishman, although replays suggested he was unfortunate.

Two wins in a week for Sunderland. Credit: PA

Allardyce's response was to send on Jeremain Lens for Larsson , and he very nearly made the difference twice within seconds as he crossed for Yann M'Vila to force Butland into a 55th-minute block with his legs and repeated the dose for defender Sebastian Coates to draw a fingertip save with a firm header.

Central defender O'Shea was replaced by winger Adam Johnson and after being fouled by Pieters, the newcomer squared the resulting 82nd-minute free-kick to Van Aanholt who blasted it past the helpless Butland from 25 yards.

And there was better to come for Allardyce when Watmore broke free down the right with five minutes remaining and drilled a low shot past the keeper and inside the far post.


Watmore signs long-term deal with Sunderland

Sunderland forward Duncan Watmore Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/PA Images

Sunderland have confirmed that forward Duncan Watmore has signed a new long-term contract with the club.

The 21-year-old has put pen to paper on a four-year deal, keeping him at the Stadium of Light until at least summer 2020.

The Black Cats’ forward broke into the first team earlier this season after impressing in the club’s Under-21 side, where he was crowned Barclays Under-21 Premier League Player of the Season for the 2014-15 campaign.

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