Sunderland’s “unbelievable” team spirit helped them prevail in their battle to seal Premier League safety, according to striker Jermain Defoe.
Sam Allardyce’s side secured another season of top-flight football on Wednesday as Patrick Van Aanholt’s free-kick and Lamine Kone’s brace earned a 3-0 win over Everton at a raucous Stadium of Light.
The victory sent fierce local rivals Newcastle United down to the Championship, along with Norwich City, and Defoe was ecstatic in the immediate aftermath.
“Unbelievable!” he told Sky Sports. “I don’t know if you can hear me because of the atmosphere. The fans won us the game against Chelsea [on Saturday] and that’s happened tonight as well.
“They drag the team on, it’s unbelievable and to stay up again, I’m delighted.
“It’s unbelievable, if you look at the great teams it’s all about team spirit and togetherness. The main thing is team spirit, the lads are unbelievable, it is fantastic.”
Defoe has been a key contributor to Sunderland’s survival bid, netting 15 Premier League goals – his best return since 2009-10 when he was at Tottenham.
“I’ve worked hard this season, kept myself fit and sharp but I couldn’t have done it without the lads,” he said.
“I’m always confident if I get a chance I’ll put them away.
“He [Allardyce] is a top manager and away from football he’s a great man, he must be delighted.”
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