Sam Allardyce lauded Jermain Defoe as the only reason Sunderland can still avoid relegation from the Premier League after the forward’s late goal at Stoke City.
Defoe won and converted a 94th-minute penalty to see his team salvage a 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.
The goal was Defoe’s 14th in the Premier League this season and sees Sunderland sitting one point from safety.
Allardyce said the 33-year-old deserved credit for keeping his team with a hope of avoiding the drop.
“Where would we be without Jermain Defoe? Relegated probably,” the manager said.
“The other lads haven’t scored enough goals, Jermain has kept us close to be out of trouble.
“I am going home satisfied it is a point gained rather than two dropped.”
Sunderland have matches against Chelsea, Everton and Watford to finish the season, with their clash against Roberto Martinez’s men their game in hand.
Allardyce is eyeing at least two wins, saying: “We have our destiny in our own hands and have got to play better so if the referee slips up we have got to make sure it doesn’t cost us.
“It was a scrappy game, we have got to win that game in hand and certainly next week against Chelsea.”