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Cats on the brink

Gary Neville says it would take something “incredible” for Sunderland to beat the drop after their defeat to West Ham.

Last Updated: 07/04/14 at 12:09 Post Comment

Poyet: Sunderland boss faces huge task

Poyet: Sunderland boss faces huge task

Gus Poyet’s side lost 2-1 at the Stadium of Light on Monday night and remain four points adrift of safety, albeit with a game in hand over West Brom in 17th, but face four of the current top six in their next four fixtures.

Wigan Athletic made an amazing survival bid in 2011/12 when they won seven of their last nine games – including wins over Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal – to climb out of the relegation zone in the final weeks of the season.

And Sky Sports pundit Neville says it would take something equally remarkable if Sunderland are to get out of trouble.

“On paper there’s no chance. You wouldn’t say there is if you’re being harsh about it,” he said on Monday Night Football.

“Everton at home you wouldn’t say they’ll get anything and the three other games at home (against Cardiff, West Brom and Swansea) are huge for all the other teams.

“They are basically going to have to surprise us at a level that I’ve not seen. Wigan, a few years ago when they went and beat Arsenal and United, were incredible. They went on a run at the end of the season and you thought ‘where’s that come from?’ It was absolutely incredible to watch.

“Sunderland are going to have to do that. Are they capable looking at them tonight? No, but we’ve seen stranger things happen.”

Trouble

Sunderland went behind to Andy Carroll’s early header and Mohamed Diame scored a second for West Ham before Adam Johnson gave the hosts some hope.

But Neville felt their poor defending was indicative of their problems this season.

“It was a bad night for them,” he added.

“I said before the game that what got them out of trouble last season wouldn’t be enough this season. Now they have got themselves in so much trouble.

“When you play against Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan, second balls are absolutely critical. It must be probably the primary thing that Gus Poyet – or any coach that plays against West Ham with those two – must be thinking about before a game.

“They must be alive. When that ball is in the air towards Carroll or Nolan, make sure you’re the first to react and you’re against your man.

“More often than not your first centre-half, who is going up for the ball, will not win it. He’s not going to get a clear header that will knock it 30 yards away, so you’ve got to be alive on those second balls. Those are basic things tonight that have cost Sunderland.

“If you look at all the fixtures to go you’d have to say they’ve got a real massive task to get through those and get the points they require.”

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terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

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he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

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o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

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