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Cattermole believes Moyes retains broad fan support & hints at 'behind the scenes' sorting out

If ever Sunderland needed Lee Cattermole to sort things out behind the scenes it's right now. And with Fabio Borini hinting there's something wrong in the dressing room, you can bet your bottom dollar that vice-captain Catts will not allow that to fester for long.

Tottenham Hotspur v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

Had Lee Cattermole been an integral part of the Sunderland team during this campaign, do you think Fabio Borini would have stood in front of a BBC camera crew and claimed the Black Cats' dressing room has been a disunited unit?

Indeed, it would be a surprise if a senior member of the Sunderland squad hasn't already addressed the issue with the Italian forward.

And Catts more than any other member of the team is just the man to do it. Sunderland badly missed his leadership during the midfielder's lengthy lay-off.

Be it frustration from being dropped, a colossal ego or merely the adrenaline from scoring his first goal in nearly four months, Borini's comments were unhelpful whilst David Moyes' side still has flickering embers left in its Premier League fire.

Sunderland v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Next up for Sunderland is the Tees-Wear derby, a massive game even if it is being played out between the Premier League's two worst teams who both look destined for the drop.

And even if every single individual who pulled on a red-and-white shirt yesterday is vehemently opposed to the Moyes regime, now is not the time for playing staff to rake up premature post-mortems into why this season has unfurled so badly.

Indeed, if some are to be believed, owner Ellis Short has made it clear to every member of the Sunderland playing and back-room staff that Moyes remains his man in a clear 'put-up-or-shut' memo that Borini clearly didn't receive.

But the hints of unrest in the locker room are now also set against a significant shift in attitude toward Moyes from the Sunderland faithful. Agitation and unease have been growing for weeks about the 53-year-old's tenure at the Stadium of Light but yesterday that frustration erupted onto the terraces.

Sunderland v West Ham United - Premier League
"Blame him not me", David Moyes points during yesterday's game
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Few - if any - Sunderland managers have ever survived once the match-going masses turn on them. It's a line over which countless incumbents have crossed never to return.

The logic of keeping the man in the hot seat will matter not if the fans have made up their collective mind to oust him. Indeed, the argument to retain faith with Moyes has been recanted so often, it could be enshrined on the plaque below Bob Stokoe's statue. Thou shalt seek stability and thou shalt not sacketh the Scot. But that counts for nothing if the fan base have spoken in a united front.

But how many actually turned remains unclear and in truth the boos when Moyes emerged from his dugout were clearly emanating from a minority. So is there still a silent majority at the Stadium of Light who believe the former Everton manager remains the man to rebuild Sunderland?

Well Lee Cattermole believes so. And the veteran of seven seasons on Wearside has seen successive managers either walk out or be hounded out, so the midfielder is well placed to judge the public mood. Vice-captain Catts has suggested to the Daily Mail that the headlines surrounding Sunderland fans running out of patience with Moyes en masse are misleading:

Listen, I don't think they turned against the manager, not the way I have seen other managers being treated. I don't think they've turned against him.

Indeed Cattermole revealed earlier this year that the sacking of Steve Bruce during his third season as a player at Sunderland hurt him badly, so the 29-year-old is well-versed on how the Stadium of Light crowd can viciously display its disapproval of an incumbent manager.

Bolton Wanderers v Sunderland - Premier League
Steve Bruce was subject to his fair share of anger from the stands during the final days of his Sunderland tenure
Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

But Cattermole has also suggested yesterday's performance gives his side a platform at least on which to build as Sunderland prepare for a run of winnable fixtures which may yet give an outside shot at survival a chance:

Honestly that's as positive as I've felt after a game for a long time. If we have to start with a draw, we'll start with a draw, but I think you'll definitely see us look to build on that. We will behind the scenes.

And it's that last sentence which is key. Many credit Sunderland's greatest ever escape to leaders like Lee Cattermole.

That was during Gus Poyet's tenure in which the Uruguayan had all but given up on survival in the 2013-14 season and despaired that his side needed a miracle, seven points from safety with only six to play. Some suggest that senior professionals led by Cattermole had met privately to sort themselves out. And they did - taking 13 points from a possible 15 to secure the unlikeliest of escapes.

If ever Sunderland need Lee Cattermole to do some sorting behind the scenes it's right now. And let's hope he starts with the Italian who went public yesterday to claim something is wrong behind the scenes.

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