SUNDERLAND must keep fighting to remain in the Premier League until they are mathematically confined to the Championship.
That’s the view of first-team coach Charlie Oatway as the Black Cats look to become only the second team in the Premier League era to avoid the drop after being bottom of the league at Christmas.
Sunderland, lying four points adrift of safety ahead of today’s trip to Everton, will need to repeat West Brom’s Great Escape of 2004-05 to survive after the Baggies boasted 10 points from 18 games at Christmas.
Oatway realises it is a huge task for Gus Poyet’s side to achieve that goal, but he insists there can be no surrender until their fate is decided.
“I won’t give in the fight until it is mathematically impossible,” he said.
“Other people might see it differently and say you have to use common-sense, but not me.
“Until it is mathematically impossible, you never know.
“I know the odds are against us – we can all see that – but until the day comes when it is mathematically impossible, you keep going, you keep fighting and you keep trying to do the right things and what you believe in.
“That’s what we will be doing.”
Sunderland, who were in training at the Academy of Light yesterday, could only manage a goalless draw against Norwich City last weekend, in a game which Poyet had pinpointed to secure a much-needed victory.
But Oatway insists both players and the coaching staff have had to banish the disappointment ahead of two away games inside 48 hours.
“I’m no different from anyone else – I get down, I get saddened by results, sendings-off, suspensions, whatever,” he added.
“But you have to dust yourself down, roll your sleeves up and go again.
“That’s not just in football, that’s what you have to do in life.
“You can’t dwell on the negatives, you have to move forward.
“That’s what the players have to do and that’s what we have to do as staff.
“We have bad times. We sit on the coach not talking, sulking, but then you get ready to go again.
“We’ve got a good group of lads, they are eager to do well and we have to make sure that they’ve got us and we’ve got them.
“You have good and bad days, you bounce off each other.”