Allardyce hails Sunderland star Jan Kirchhoff's performance as best of the season

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Sunderland were defeated 1-0 at home to Manchester City.

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce says new signing Jan Kirchhoff provided the best midfield performance of the season despite his side’s slender defeat, the Sunderland Echo reports.

Kirchhoff had a Premier League debut to forget, coming off the bench to score an own goal and concede a penalty as his side crashed to a 4-1 at Tottenham Hotspur in mid-January.

However, the defender was playing in a holding midfield role against Manchester City on Tuesday night, and his display was in some contrast to his debut as he performed exceedingly well.

“I don’t know anybody who has played better than that in central midfield for anybody. Whether it be Everton, Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea and certainly Manchester City,” Allardyce said.

“He played that well, they changed to a three and tried to block it up at half time. I have to say it was up there with one of the top performances for a midfield player from any team this season, I’d say.”

The introduction of Lamine Kone at centre-back prompted Allardyce to push Kirchhoff up into a holding position with Lee Cattermole and Yann M’Vila playing slightly further forward.

Some could say it was a defensive move by Allardyce to play three defensive-minded midfielders, yet it allowed the Black Cats to gain some sort of control on proceedings and it worked.

City scored the only goal of the game through Sergio Aguero after 16 minutes, yet for long spells they were under the cosh somewhat as Sunderland played with lots of intensity.

Kirchhoff, 25, made five tackles and five interceptions – more than any other midfielder on the pitch.

In spite of his fine display, the former Bayern Munich player was however unable to help his side avoid defeat, leaving the Wearside club in 19th position in table and four points from safety.

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