Sam Allardyce says Sunderland have to keep the faith that they can follow Bournemouth’s example and turn around their fortunes when all seems lost.
Sunderland’s predicament in the relegation dogfight looks increasingly bleak, with three defeats on the spin leaving the Black Cats five points adrift of safety, ahead of Boxing Day’s trip to Manchester City.
It’s a bizarre league this year; more bizarre because there’s more teams winning away from home than ever before and more teams at the bottom beating teams at the top than ever.
However, Sunderland’s fellow relegation contenders continue to make a habit of upsetting the Premier League’s heavyweights – Norwich winning at Manchester United last weekend, while Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool have all been vanquished by Newcastle and Bournemouth over recent weeks.
Bournemouth had endured a barren streak stretching back to September’s victory over Sunderland, before they triumphed at Chelsea earlier this month and that has sparked a run of three wins on the spin for the Cherries, who are now up to 14th; four points clear of the bottom three.
“We’d done back-to-back wins and looked like we were the side who were going to move away from the bottom,” said Sunderland boss Allardyce.
“But then we failed and lost three on the trot.
“Bournemouth have won three on the trot, Newcastle have won two against big teams.
“It’s a bizarre league this year; more bizarre because there’s more teams winning away from home than ever before and more teams at the bottom beating teams at the top than ever.
“It happened again on Saturday.
“We’ve got to have faith and hope that we can be one of those teams that down the line will put two or three results together.
“It can be done. We’ve got to do it somewhere along the line in the next two or three months.
“If we can do that, it helps us get out the position we’re in.”
If Sunderland are to end their losing streak at the Etihad on Saturday though, they will need to be vastly more competitive than they were in last weekend’s defeat at Chelsea when they were 2-0 down inside 13 minutes.
However, Allardyce says he was more concerned by the previous two losses against Arsenal and Watford when Sunderland still came away empty-handed, despite creating a host of chances.
“We have to stay in the game better than we did at Chelsea,” he added.
“But we didn’t deserve anything from that game.
“My bigger problem is we deserved something against Arsenal, didn’t do it. Deserved something against Watford, didn’t do it.
“That’s a bigger worry for me. When we are as good as the opposition or creating chances, we still lost those matches.
“Chelsea was dead as soon as we lost the third.”