Everton 6, Sunderland 2
Dejected Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce insists a treacherous road lies ahead unless his side dispel the kamikaze defending which underpinned their annihilation at Everton.
The Black Cats twice struck the post before forwards Gerard Deulofeu and Arouna Kone gave Everton a two-goal lead, which was subsequently wiped out by Jermain Defoe and Steven Fletcher efforts.
But an own goal from centre-half Sebastian Coates, combined with a Romelu Lukaku strike and the completion of Kone’s hat-trick consigned Allardyce to a frustrating afternoon and one which leaves Sunderland in 19th place, two points adrift of safety.
“The defensive frailties were just too much in the side and we allowed Everton to win the game comfortably in the end,” said Allardyce.
“If we don’t sort those out and give it away like we did at 2-2, then it’ll be a long haul over the next few months.
“I need the players to understand what an opportunity they had to at least get a result. They let their emotions get carried away. If you allow them spaces by going AWOL, then they will exploit those spaces.”
Victory moved Roberto Martinez’s Everton to eighth in the Premier League, five points behind Manchester United and a Champions League place.