I’m usually one of the most pessimistic people around when it comes to Sunderland but oddly enough I’m actually quite positive today, even after drawing at the weekend against Bournemouth.
I do think Bournemouth are a team that Sunderland should be beating and I don’t intend any disrespect to them by saying that. In September, they thoroughly deserved to beat us but it wasn’t because of them having better players. They beat us then because we simply didn’t try hard enough.
On Saturday they took full advantage of being the away team in perfect fashion, but even so, Sunderland’s passing shouldn’t have been as poor as it was in the first-half. We have better quality players than Bournemouth. It’s about time we started showing it on a more regular basis.
Having said that, we did at least rescue a point, and I believe that it could prove vital at the end of the season. Imagine we stayed up by one point come mid-May? Don’t get me wrong, I’m disappointed we didn’t win at the weekend, but I think this can genuinely be seen as a point gained, especially after going behind.
After the Liverpool game we were seven points adrift of safety and things looked really bad. At that point if you were offered seven points from Aston Villa, Swansea, Tottenham and Bournemouth, would you have taken that? I would have instantly. That’s two wins, a draw and only one loss, and that loss came away to Spurs, who will be in the mix for the title come the end of the season.
People tend to forget we’ve only lost one out of the last four Premier League games.
Even though our next game is against Manchester City, by the time we play them, they will have played two extra fixtures – Everton in the Capital One Cup semi-final second-leg and away at Aston Villa in the F.A. Cup fourth round on Saturday. Yes, they will probably not field their strongest team twice in three days but we will be fresher than they are by next week. There’s no reason why we can’t get a result if we are one hundred percent focused.
We have a tough run coming up but once you look past games against Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool our remaining fixtures don’t look too bad.
My opinion on our situation depends on who we sign in the next week or so, as we clearly need quality. The owner needs to deliver if we are to survive – that is a fact.