Sunderland played out a boring, goalless draw at Aston Villa today. The visitors put just one of their seven shots on target, and spent the last thirty minutes simply closing down Villa. That point may have pulled Sunderland out of dead last, but they remain five points from safety. They’ve won just two of their thirteen matches and have failed to score in almost half. Yet manager Gus Poyet, who’s been on the job for nearly two months, still thinks that the Black Cats are going to survive this season.
Speaking after the draw on Saturday, Poyet said, “I think we deserve it (the win). The players were believing. We didn’t get the three points but it is a step in the right direction. The idea is to maintain this level and I am sure we are going to be alright.”
The Sunderland boss continued, saying, “It is a good point for different reasons. We performed for 90 minutes, we made it difficult for Villa and created chances. We are keeping on growing. Sometimes you have to understand when you are at the bottom that things don’t go for you.”
Anyone who watched the match may have had trouble understanding what Poyet meant when he said Sunderland are “growing.” It is not tough to take points from Villa Park these days. Sure, a little luck and things may have gone Sunderland’s way. And Poyet’s comment about things not going for you when you’re at the bottom may have been in reference to the visitors’ not being awarded a penalty for what appeared to be a handball by Ciaran Clark. But ultimately, Sunderland still look like a collection of players thrown together, who often don’t have ideas on how to work together to create chances.
Having already mired themselves so firmly at the bottom of the table, the Black Cats have a lot of work to do to avoid relegation. And unfortunately for Poyet and his side, positive thinking is not going to be sufficient to boost them past Chelsea midweek, or Tottenham next weekend.