Sam Allardyce rues Sunderland's missed opportunity, says this makes it worse

Allardyce deflated

The Black Cats boss admitted that his side have made things a lot more difficult for themselves by conceding a late equaliser to Southampton.

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has admitted to the club's official website that his side have made their battle to avoid relegation a lot more difficult for themselves by conceding a late equaliser to Southampton.

Jermain Defoe's strike looked to have given the Black Cats a priceless away win at St. Mary's at the weekend, but Virgil van Dijk struck in injury-time to deny the Wearside club a vital three points.

What makes the slip-up worse is that had they been able to hold on, Sunderland would have been three points clear of the relegation zone with a game in hand over most of their fellow strugglers by the time they next played, against arch-rivals Newcastle United in a fortnight's time.

As it is, however, the late lapse in concentration means that Allardyce and his players now face an anxious wait to see how their competitors at the bottom of the table get on next weekend before they can take matters into their own hands again.

The 61-year-old told the club's website: "Unfortunately performances have not delivered the results they deserve and unfortunately it’s our own fault that we’ve thrown two very precious points away.

"We would have been three points away from the bottom three and, with no game next week, teams could have won and still not been out of the relegation zone, with us still having a game in hand against Everton, so that’s the difference.

"That's what should have happened, that’s what we should have done and we have made life extremely difficult for ourselves, so now we have to wait patiently for our game in two weeks against Newcastle United. I would love to have had a game this weekend due to the way we’ve been performing recently."

Allardyce's side have lost just three of their last nine league matches as they look to launch a bid to move clear of the relegation zone.

With an eight-point gap between 17th-place Sunderland and Swansea City in 16th, it looks almost certain to be any two of the Black Cats, Newcastle and Norwich City who will join bottom side Aston Villa in the Championship next season.

Sunderland have the slight upper hand with nine matches remaining, sitting one point clear of both the Magpies and the Canaries with a better goal difference.

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