Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe feels his side deserved their good fortune after his late winner gave them a vital 1-0 Premier League victory at Crystal Palace on Monday.
Sam Allardyce’s men won a league game for only the second time this season thanks to the 33-year-old’s strike in the 80th minute, which came after a mix-up between Palace defender Scott Dann and goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.
But Defoe thinks that slice of luck was just reward for Sunderland’s work-rate, and he hopes they can build on the positive result in the weeks ahead after moving up to 18th in the table.
“The goal happened so quick, but I just kept making the runs in behind like the manager said,” Defoe told Sky Sports.
“I felt sharp throughout the game. People always say that when you work hard you get rewarded and I think that happened, that little bit of luck that you need. I was delighted when I went through and put it away.
“The team spirit is always important if you want to achieve anything special. The lads worked hard. We have put a lot of work in during the international break and it has paid off.
“We knew it was going to be a difficult game. It is always hard to come here and the first half was high tempo but we dug in. The lads had to battle fantastically and we are delighted with the three points.
“It is a great win and hopefully we can kick on now. It is never easy when you are scrapping for results but the manager has come in and been fantastic, he has got the lads working hard.”
Defoe had to be substituted shortly after scoring the winner with an ankle injury, which he hopes will not prove to be a serious one when tests are carried out.
“The only positive is I can sort of put weight on it now,” he added.
“I just hope it is not ligaments because I feel sharp and I have worked hard.”
Sunderland welcome in-form Stoke City to the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
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