Before we played Manchester City, I mentioned that we couldn’t afford three defeats against them, Liverpool and Manchester United.
Granted we probably deserved to draw (at least) against Man City and lose against Liverpool but you take the points wherever you can get them in the Premier League. That said, the fightback still doesn’t paper over the cracks and those cracks are still obviously there.
Yes, we scored two late goals, but I’m still annoyed that we had to be two-nil down in the first place. Although James Milner’s cross was good, I can’t help but feel Patrick van Aanholt could have been a bit tighter to Roberto Firmino for the first goal - maybe that’s me being hyper-critical.
I have defended Billy Jones constantly as I still don’t think he’s a bad player. I feel like he generally is solid at the back but I have to seriously question what on earth he was doing in the build up to that second Liverpool goal.
The walkout on seventy-seven minutes definitely had an impact on the game, which I suppose was the desired effect.
I think Sunderland’s recovery was down to a mixture of the fans leaving and Liverpool’s complacency. Although the fans left early a side like Liverpool shouldn’t blow a two-nil lead like that in the last ten minutes, especially having looked so comfortable beforehand.
I do agree with the majority that one of our ex-players Simon Mignolet could (and probably should) have saved Adam Johnson's but even at that point I didn’t see us getting anything. Jermain Defoe scoring again was vital - everyone is saying it, but he will be crucial if we are to stay up.
Despite West Brom losing to Newcastle. we are not worse off than at the start of the games on Saturday. We need to at least be no worse off in terms of points adrift of safety by the time we play West Ham.
I can see why people are asking why we weren’t going for it a bit against a defensively-lacklustre Liverpool side who didn’t even have Jurgen Klopp in the stadium as he was in hospital, but we've tried to outplay teams in the recent past and have been hammered because of it. Everton away when we lost six-two is a prime example.
Now that Man City and Liverpool are out of the way, let’s hope we scrape a result against Man Utd, who are still a big threat despite their struggles this season. It is a MUST that Big Sam gets his tactics right. IF other teams, especially Newcastle, Norwich and Aston Villa, all lose at the weekend, I’ll gladly take a draw but a win would be huge for confidence.
Our next two games – Man Utd at home and West Ham away – both kick-off at 12:45pm. I personally hate kicking off early because it can have a big affect on what happens later. That said, win both and it adds to the pressure on the teams around us when they kick off after our game has finished. It's something we'd be wise to take advantage of.
Four points from the next two games I think is the minimum target for Sunderland but six could be a massive difference. Like I keep saying, after Man Utd our remaining fixtures don’t look too bad until the end of the season. Out of the traditional established ‘big’ teams we’d only have Arsenal and Chelsea to play, with both games at the Stadium of Light.
Finally, Big Sam says we need six wins out of thirteen if we are to survive. Can we do it? Yes, I think we can, but whether we do or not is up to the players once they cross that white line.
Hopefully by three o’clock on Saturday, we’ll only need five more wins to stay up.