Sunderland’s Black Cats are in a bad spot. They have one point from their last six Premier League matches, have scored three goals in those contests and have all but given up their matches-in-hand on the teams ahead of them in the race for Premier League survival.
So it’ll be interesting to see what buttons manager Gus Poyet pushes moving forward. After today’s 2-1 loss to West Ham, almost a “must win” given their schedule moving forward, Poyet chose to express his team’s superiority.
“I think the situation is simple – we were probably better than them in every aspect of the game except the final score.
“That hurts a lot, but we are not going to give up.
“It was a typical game of a team towards the bottom – we were the better side, passed the ball better, had more shots and then a deflected goal goes in.”
Sunderland’s last victory was a 3-0 win over Newcastle in early February, one that seemed to signal their ascension from the dregs of an awful season. Spirits were high, Cup runs were plentiful and Poyet was, frankly, a boss.
But now the math is no longer in their favor. You can’t multiply their matches-in-hand by three points and optimistically point to safety. A win it their final match-in-hand would boost them to a point back of West Brom, three back of Crystal Palace.
So as Sunderland looks ahead to the following slate of games, Poyet needs to keep saying the things that move his club.
“Today the message is we are defending the football club to the best of our ability, starting from me to the last person in that dressing room.
“We gave everything possible; we tried our best but couldn’t win. The only thing to do is keep doing it until the end of the season.”
It’ll take that… and still may not be enough to survive a brutal, congested schedule.
SUNDERLAND’S REMAINING FIXTURES
April 7 – at Spurs
April 12 – vs. Everton
April 16 – at Manchester City
April 20 – at Chelsea
April 27 – vs. Cardiff City
May 3 – at Manchester United
May 7 – vs. West Bromwich Albion
May 11 – vs. Swansea City