KENWYNE JONES broke his two-month goal drought at the weekend – and is hoping he can now find the goals to keep Sunderland up.
Defeat left Sunderland two points above the drop zone and now Sunderland face a survival battle in the final six games of the season.
Goals have been hard to come by for Sunderland, with Jones’ last coming six games ago in the 2-0 home win against Stoke on February 7, and he admitted that scoring on Saturday has taken a weight off his mind.
He said: “It was definitely a relief.
“When you go so long without scoring, it preys on your mind, so I'm happy to get that out of the way and hopefully there will be a few more to come.
“I’m not about setting targets for how many more goals I can get between now and the end of the season. All that is important to everyone at the club is getting enough points to stay in the Premier League.
“The fact is we lost again, but there are a lot of positive things we can take from Saturday's game.
“We looked a lot livelier and we have to take that forward into the last six games.”
Man U’s title challenge has stuttered in recent weeks and Sunderland pushed them all the way at the weekend.
Paul Scholes headed the visitors in front inside the first 20 minutes, but Jones levelled in the 56th minute, prodding the ball over the line from close range after Jonny Evans had managed to block his initial header with keeper Ben Foster beaten.
“I don't think Jonny knew anything about it, but the ball hit him from my header and I was pleased to see the ball drop for me again,” said Jones.
Sunderland looked as though they would take a precious point until Man U sub Kiko Macheda deflected a Michael Carrick shot past Craig Gordon 14 minutes from time to seal an important, if rather unconvincing, victory for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
Sunderland’s performance against Man U was a big improvement on their recent displays against more modest opposition, and Jones says they must now maintain this level as they prepare to take on fellow-strugglers Hull City at home on Saturday.
Jones said: “There has been something missing from our performances for quite a while, and it is a shame that we have brought it back against Manchester United.
“If we had played like that against a few other teams this season, I think we would have been in a better position.
“I don't think there is more pressure on the next game, because in our position, every game is a pressure game.
“We need big performances from now until the end of the season and keep the same level of commitment that we showed on Saturday.
“We showed a bit of grit, and now we have to take that into the next game and be a bit more clinical.”