Fletcher: Win was long-time coming
Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher believes the 3-1 victory over Fulham on Sunday had been on the cards for a number of weeks.
Martin O'Neill's side had not won since September 29 when Fletcher's goal secured a 1-0 victory over Wigan. Scotland international Fletcher had not scored since claiming the winner against the Latics until he opened the scoring at Craven Cottage early in the second half.
"I think this win has been coming, we were unlucky at Everton and it was great to put in a good performance, score a few goals and get three points," he said.
Fulham were already down to 10 men following Brede Hangeland's first-half dismissal but levelled through substitute Mladen Petric. But Sunderland fought back with goals from Carlos Cuellar and Stephane Sessegnon to win their first Barclays Premier League away game of the season and Fletcher claims it was deserved.
Sunderland failed to make a numerical advantage count in last month's derby clash with Newcastle but Fletcher, who also praised the performance of winger Adam Johnson, felt they handled Fulham's 10 men better.
He said: "We saw against Newcastle that it can be tough to play against 10 men but today we took the game by the scruff of the neck and got our goals."
Fulham's goalscorer Petric had an incident-filled game after replacing the injured Bryan Ruiz after an hour. The Croatia international almost equalised with his first touch before finding the back of the net two minutes later after Damien Duff beat the offside trap to provide the assist.
Petric then required treatment on a wound suffered when scoring the goal and was off the field as Sunderland regained the lead. Petric managed to see out the rest of the game and was denied a second goal by a great save from Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.
But Fulham boss Martin Jol lost both Alex Kacaniklic and Ruiz to hamstring injures and Petric felt the enforced changes had an impact of the Cottagers' chances. "I think we have to learn from that game, but we had two injuries so I think that luck was not on our side," he said.
"I think we tried very hard and we always believed we had it in us to get back in the game. We kept putting pressure on Sunderland and we had some good opportunities again to score but unfortunately we just couldn't find the net again."