Sunderland relegated, Moyes unsure about future
Sunderland’s 10-year stay in the Premier League is over after Josh King’s late strike gave Bournemouth a 1-0 victory that condemned the Black Cats to relegation on Saturday.
David Moyes’ side slumped out of the English top-flight with a whimper as the latest dismal display in a wretched campaign ended with King’s winner in the 88th minute.
Moyes briefly thought there might be a reprieve when their relegation rivals Hull conceded a late penalty at Southampton, but Dusan Tadic’s spot-kick was saved by Eldin Jakupovic to give the Tigers a 0-0 draw that ended Sunderland’s survival hopes.
In the bottom three since September 10, bottom of the table Sunderland have gone 10 games without a win and are doomed with four games still to play.
Sunderland’s relegation caps another miserable season for Moyes, who has endured a torrid time since leaving Everton to take charge at Manchester United in 2013.
Sacked by United after less than a year and dismissed by Real Sociedad following a disappointing spell in Spain, Moyes has been unable to rehabilitate his reputation at Sunderland.
Moyes found his hands tied by a lack of financial backing from Sunderland owner Ellis Short during the January transfer window, leaving the Scot to publicly vent his frustrations.
Criticised by fans for his negative tactics and charged by the Football Association following his crude comments to a television reporter, it would be no surprise if Moyes parts company with Sunderland during the close-season.
David Moyes would not confirm whether he will remain Sunderland’s manager next season.
“To think about it and talk about it now is just too quick,” Moyes said when asked about his future by a television reporter.
“They’re questions for a week or two down the line. I’m not sure it’s for now. I’d like to make sure we get Sunderland back in the Premier League.”
“I’m really disappointed,” Moyes added.
“I feel for the supporters. They put their heart and cash into the team and my thoughts are mainly with the supporters.
“It’s a collective thing from top to bottom – it’s wrong to blame any individual. Clubs are much stronger than any one individual.”
With injuries ravaging his squad, Moyes had to make four changes to the team that lost at Middlesbrough on Wednesday as Sunderland chased a first home league win since December 17.
Out of sorts
Moyes’ men desperately needed an early goal to steady their nerves and they went close when Fabio Borini’s swerving effort drew a good save from Artur Boruc.
Sunderland rode their luck when King was denied the opening goal in freak circumstances as his curling shot hit the crossbar, rebounded onto a post and then bounced into the grateful arms of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Jermain Defoe’s failure to score since February has been instrumental in Sunderland’s downfall and the England forward was still out of sorts.
He blazed high over the bar midway through the half and then, played in by Didier Ndong’s header, he volleyed straight at Boruc from a good position.
Sunderland were just as error-prone at the back and more poor defending let in King for a shot that was cleared off the line by Donald Love just before half-time.
Bournemouth wasted two chances to seal Sunderland’s fate early in the second half, with Marc Pugh firing wide with an opportunistic effort before Steve Cook headed over from Ryan Fraser’s cross.
There was little improvement from Sunderland as the minutes ticked away and Moyes sent on young midfielder George Honeyman in a bid to spark his moribund side into life.
Honeyman did have a sight of goal, but couldn’t beat Boruc and Sunderland’s fate was confirmed when King raced onto Fraser’s pass and slotted home to put the seal on a season to forget on Wearside.