The state of things
Sunderland face Manchester United on Sunday in what is the latest in a sequence of must-win fixtures to have any chance of Premier League survival. Unlikely? Obviously.
The two defeats in four days earlier this week, in what were the games which were roughly the final chance to stage a miracle escape, concluded with zero points and zero goals scored.
What David Moyes is now left with is difficult to assess. Obviously the manager and his players will state publicly their aim to keep fighting until there remains no mathematical chance of survival.
But realistically, the remainder of the season is now left to damage limitation and the hope of swinging some momentum to carry us through the summer and into the start of the Championship season.
Moyes has had a horrific week with his behaviour widely analysed and the spotlight shone on his limitations and failings this season in the backwash. The man himself has faced the press for the third time in seven days this afternoon. Here's our take on what he said and five things he addressed.
1. The winning formula discovered: try a bit harder + get a bit luckier
Ruing missed chances and more trips with nothing to show for them, Moyes insisted his side should have come away from Vicarage Road and the King Power Stadium with something,
I think our performances against Leicester and Watford warranted something and we didn't get.
But by George, he may just have got it - the Sunderland boss also highlighted what will be required to get anything off Manchester United on Sunday. There's just something wrong with this formula here, something doesn't quite add up - we just can't quite put our fingers on it,
We have to get a bit luckier and try a bit harder.
Whatever it takes. I think the players are giving everything they've got, I really do.
So the players are giving everything but they need to try a bit harder? Anyone?
2. Farewell Jan Kirchhoff
Eight games remain and the squad as it stands will not be reinforced by any more of the players currently out injured,
There's no more good news as far as players coming back from injury goes. The rest are probably out for the rest of the season.
No huge surprise as we already knew Duncan Watmore and Paddy McNair will play no part in the remainder of the campaign but it also likely means the end of Jan Kirchhoff at Sunderland as the German is out of contract in the summer. Speculation of course but there seems relatively little chance he will be offered a new deal in the second tier.
3. And Steven Pienaar?
It's difficult to build a case for the South African being offered an extension to his current deal either which also expires at the end of the season.
The former Everton and Tottenham man has been out with a calf injury since mid-February and presumably is included in the list of those not expected to take any further part in the campaign.
Pienaar linked back up with his former boss in the summer on a year-long contract. The 35-year-old has played in 14 games this season and barring a few early performances of promise, the midfielder has laboured in most of the matches he's taken part in.
4. No John O'Shea
The Republic of Ireland captain missed Tuesday's trip to Leicester due to the death of his father and will play no part this weekend against his former club Manchester United.
5. Vic and Catts to play their part in the battle
David Moyes suggested Victor Anichebe will be utilised in some way on Sunday,
Victor's up and running. We need him up to a level where he can make a difference. We're in a position where we have to take risks.
Can he play 90 minutes? Probably not. Can he play some minutes? Yes.
And the Sunderland boss confirmed Lee Cattermole has suffered no ill-effects from his 70-odd minutes mid-week,
Lee Cattermole trained today and looked fine. His leadership has been missing and having him back is a good thing.