Are tiredness and fixture congestion taking their toll on the Sunderland squad? Not on your life, according to Lee Cattermole.
Speaking ahead of the massive game against Southampton - a game from which a win would see the Black Cats jump to 15th before anyone else has kicked off this weekend - the midfielder insists confidence is high in the squad and they fear no one.
Speaking to the Sunderland Echo, Cattermole said:
It's great to be off the bottom of the table. But, personally, I didn't think about it last weekend.
I'm just looking forward to each and every game now.
Southampton have done really well this season. We beat them earlier this season in the Capital One Cup, but they play a similar style to ourselves.
Their manager has got them playing well and they are a hard-working team. It will be a really tough game, but we don't fear anybody.
Bluster from the squad in their media commitments isn't really anything new. In fact, the 'rallying call' from a player has almost come to be the Sunderland fans' version of the vote of confidence for a manager. It's dreaded, not welcome, and indicative of something really quite bad happening.
That said, this does look like more genuine confidence that anything else. After three wins in a week, you'd expect them to be confident and hope that they were. Home form generally hasn't been good when the pressure is on to get a result, so a little confidence could probably go a long way.
I mean genuine, actual confidence, of course, not what Sunderland usually do! This weekend's result will probably tell us either way if that is what is on show here.