Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce says midfielder Yann M’Vila has “impressed” him since he replaced Dick Advocaat despite his costly error against Southampton.
The Frenchman brought down Ryan Bertrand in the box to gift Southampton what proved to be a match-winning penalty on Saturday.
The result leaves Sunderland 19th in the Premier League table going into the international break with six points from 12 games, four of which have been picked up in Allardyce’s five games in charge.
The former Bolton and West Ham manager has offered his backing to M’Vila although he has also urged the 25-year-old to keep his emotions under control.
He told the Sunderland Echo: “Yann just didn’t need to do it. He’d covered the ground and covered in behind Fabio (Borini), who’d let his full-back run.
“He just had to take him out the box, he didn’t have to go to ground. These things happen. Perhaps when you’re a bit frustrated, I don’t know.
“But he’s certainly one of our best players. I’ve been very impressed with him since I’ve been here and again on Saturday.
“It was just a shame he didn’t control his emotions there. We can’t seem to get it out of our make-up of making a silly mistake at some stage of the game.”
Sunderland travel to Crystal Palace in the next round of Premier League fixtures and the Black Cats are 6.50 to take all three points at Selhurst Park.
Sunderland are 1.20 to be relegated, while Bournemouth are 1.67 and West Bromwich Albion are 6.00.