JACK Colback insists Sunderland can get their top 10 challenge back on track after triumphing in their crunch relegation showdown against Reading.
Sunderland moved out of the Premier League’s bottom three last night after recording a 3-0 victory against second-bottom Reading, to secure only a second win at the Stadium of Light since March.
The three points propelled Martin O’Neill’s men up to 15th place, although they remain a precarious solitary point above the drop zone.
But midfielder Colback, back in the starting line-up after a three-game absence, says Sunderland must build on the victory, and look to fulfil their pre-season aspirations despite facing three of the top five over the next four outings. Colback told the Gazette: “There’s no point winning here and going on to lose the next two or three. It’s that tight that we’ll drop back in.
“We won last night, but that’s not even half the job done.
“There’s a little gap opened up between 10th now.
“But we started this season looking to push back towards that top 10 so we need to make sure we keep going.
“We’ve played well in games, and not got anything from them. This will give us a lot of confidence to push on.
“We’ve got some tough games coming up, but last year we did well out of this period, and we’ll be looking to do well again.
“There’s a lot of relief. We knew coming into it how big a game it was.
“We’ve not performed how we’d like this season, and not had the rub of the green very much.
“It was a must-win for us, and we produced on the night.”
Sunderland enjoyed the ideal start after making the breakthrough within the opening three minutes when winger James McClean netted his first Premier League goal of the campaign.
Steven Fletcher doubled the advantage midway through the first half, and with Sunderland happy to sit deep and counter-attack after the interval, they sealed the three points in stoppage time when Stephane Sessegnon rounded keeper Adam Federici on the break.
“In games like that, it’s always important to start well and we did that,” added Colback.
“James popped up with an important goal because we couldn’t let Reading score first.
“That would have made it very difficult, with them sitting back and we’d have to break them down.
“We came out, got the early goal and it could have been more at half-time.
“It was a shame we had to wait until the 90th minute to get the third.
“At 2-0 a goal for them would have given them a massive lift and got everyone a bit nervous.
“But we defended brilliantly. Titus (Bramble) summed it up when he came on and won every ball.
“We battled hard and got the third goal in the end.”