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Moyes rankles at suggestion he's last man standing at the bottom & the cavalry aren't coming

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David Moyes has been in front of the media this afternoon to preview Saturday's crucial clash with Burnley. With Sunderland needing to start winning - and quick - the manager discussed injuries and what's required to get that essential three points tomorrow.

The State of Things

Lose to Burnley and barring a miracle Sunderland will be relegated this season. Mid-March and writing off survival hopes would ordinarily be premature, but it really has already come down to that now.

Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Sunderland will probably have to win six games to stay up. That's one in two for a side who have only managed five victories in the league all season.

Sunderland haven't won at home for three months - since they beat Watford in mid-December. Five games have followed at the Stadium of Light with just two points gained and eleven goals conceded.

No goals scored in the last three outings is also of concern but star man Jermain Defoe could not have received a bigger boost ahead of this one than earning a recall to the England set-up.

Sunderland press conferences have become stale affairs of late and generally follow what appears to be a carefully orchestrated set-list. But teasing out the key features, here's five things David Moyes addressed today.


1. Players need to step-up

Aside from Jermain Defoe, the players who will take to the pitch tomorrow have only scored four goals between them - and even then that's just one apiece for Fabio Borini, Adnan Januzaj, Lamine Kone and Didier Ndong. And further still, half of those strikes came in one half of the game against Crystal Palace.

The man leading the charge has done enough this season to earn himself a recall to the England squad. Not many of the rest of Sunderland's players can genuinely suggest they've performed at anywhere near that level in this campaign.

On Jermain Defoe's influence, Moyes said,

We need his goals and we need more goals, so we hope he gets a boost from it. It's a great achievement,

At Crystal Palace we got other people to score and we need goals from other areas.

Crystal Palace v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

2. The manager attempted to downplay the pressure on him

If the Burnley game is a 'must-win', Moyes attempted to deflect the pressure surrounding it by claiming there are still other games to follow which will be equally as important:

It's a really important game but there are other games to come. Getting three points would be a big boost for us.

Admittedly there is still a little under a third of the season to play, and with seven of the bottom ten sides still to play after tomorrow, there will still be points which can be gained after Burnley visit,

The way the fixtures have worked, we've missed a few games and we play them later on.

But with the games running out regardless, there really is nothing to be gained now from pointing to there being matches still left which can save the club from relegation.

Everton v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

3. The cavalry can't be relied on to come

The biggest blow of the afternoon is the news that Jan Kirchhoff's knee injury has flared back up which will rule him out for at least another four weeks.

One of the last bastions of hope has been that Sunderland could stay in touch with the pack above for long enough to get three key players - Kirchhoff, Anichebe and Cattermole - back to fitness in time to make an impact on the squad.

Kirchhoff will likely now not be available for the next five matches - Saturday's visit from Burnley, then matches against Watford, Leicester, Manchester United and West Ham.

The cavalry aren't coming, and even if they do - it may be too late. As for Jan Kirchhoff, who knows where this latest set-back leaves his longer term career prospects.

Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

There have been suggestions elsewhere that Moyes told pressmen in private that he has other injuries he's yet to reveal.

What glorious treats await us with the reveal of tomorrow's team sheets?


4. Moyes gets cross at suggestion he's the last man standing at the bottom

Asked by a BBC Look North reporter during the press conference about Aitor Karanka losing his job yesterday, meaning Moyes is the final manager in the Premier League relegation battle to have not been replaced, the Sunderland boss got a bit tetchy,

There's a lot of good managers who have lost their jobs this year. I'm disappointed for him [Karanka] but that's football.

When pressed and asked about him being the only one not to have been sacked, the Moyes mask slipped for a moment and, becoming exasparated, he spluttered on about football management being a tough job before moving things swiftly on.

Sunderland v Southampton - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

5. It's over to you - us - all of us

Support from the loyalist fan base in the upper reaches of the English game is a given. Sunderland supporters will be be up for this one tomorrow. Jermain Defoe will receive a warm welcome and that will likely add to the heightened atmosphere at the Stadium of Light.

Moyes acknowledged that supporters have a battle-hardened shell when it comes to this awful fight every season,

The Stadium of Light crowd has always been important but they've been in this position before.

The supporters here are used to it but many of the players are used to it as well.

It really is do or die for those players tomorrow. The time has come for each and every one of them to give this fantastic fan base reason to lift the stadium from 3pm on Saturday.

Sunderland v Everton - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images