Sunderland’s David Moyes was rewarded for employing an old managerial ruse as his team finally achieved their first Premier League victory of the season at the 11th attempt on Saturday.
“We went to a factory this week, showing the players it is much better to be a footballer than working in a factory,” he revealed after the 2-1 success away to Bournemouth.
Moyes and his struggling players visited Nissan’s Wearside car factory on Thursday and, evidently, it proved not a bad idea.
Previously criticised by some fans for a lack of commitment and character, the team showed both qualities in abundance as they won a match in which they had only 30 percent of possession and survived the last half-hour with 10 men.
It brought them level on points at the bottom with Swansea City, who are at home to Manchester United on Sunday.
“We’ve been getting closer,” said Moyes. “We had Arsenal at 1-1 after 70 minutes, but we just didn’t quite have it after that.
“We have to hang in and get the goals when we can. Now we have one win, the next challenge is to go and get two.”
Victor Anichebe, reunited with his former Everton manager after the transfer deadline in September because he had no club, scored the equaliser and then earned the penalty from which Jermain Defoe slid in the winner.
The Nigerian had carried on playing despite suffering a cracked rib in the first half.
“I always thought Victor has great ability, a lot more than people give him credit for,” said Moyes.
“He’s strong, quick and good in the air. He doesn’t always show it, I’ll admit that, but he did today, that was for sure.”
The one downside for Sunderland on their longest journey of the season – a 934-kilometre round trip – was a sending off and consequent suspension for midfielder Steven Pienaar.
“I didn’t think it was a sending off,” said Moyes of the foul that led to Pienaar’s second card. “But I can understand it can look that way.
“Anyone who knows Steven Pienaar, he’s never made a tackle in his career.”
The former South African captain will miss a key game after the international break, at home to fellow strugglers Hull City on November 19.