LEE Cattermole insists Sunderland are still on track for their top eight objective, despite suffering their heaviest defeat of the campaign, writes Chris Young.
Skipper Cattermole had little defence or explanation for the depths the Black Cats reached at the Hawthorns on Saturday, after West Brom’s 4-0 rout inflicted Sunderland’s first loss by more than one goal since May.
It was hardly ideal preparation for this weekend’s Tyne-Wear derby, even if Sunderland remain ninth in the Premier League despite the gap with the bottom half narrowing.
But Cattermole is confident there will be a reaction at the Sports Direct Arena on Sunday lunchtime and believes one setback should not overshadow the remarkable turnaround in the club’s fortunes under Martin O’Neill.
Cattermole said: “We’ll pull together because we’ve still got a lot to play for this season.
“We’re still in the FA Cup and the aim is to finish in eighth – and we’re still on course for that.
“When the gaffer took over three months ago, we’d have definitely taken where we are now, so we can’t get too disheartened.”
Read more of Lee Cattermole’s thoughts, plus Graeme Anderson’s full match report, in today’s Sportmail.