Sunderland are dreaming of Premier League survival after pulling off a miraculous comeback against Chelsea on the weekend. The Black Cats went behind twice at the Stadium of Light, courtesy of goals from Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic, but fought back well with goals from Wahbi Khazri, Fabio Borini and Jermain Defoe.
The North-East outfit conceded a second goal in first-half injury time, but Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce urged the players not to let the game slip as they’d worked very hard to be in a position to get a result. His motivational speech clearly worked as the Black Cats turned the game on its head with two goals three minutes after the hour mark, finishing the weekend just one win away from survival.
“We switched off just before half-time and it was about picking the lads up in the dressing room to say let’s not waste what we have done. Let’s get ourselves back in the game because if we continue to show the passion and desire to shut Chelsea down as we did in the first half with a bit more quality, then we will get chances,” Allardyce revealed.
“It was extraordinary and nerve wracking. A wonderful comeback and result, particularly in the circumstances. In the second half we caused Chelsea problems and there was clinical finishing which we have been waiting for for a while. Our destiny is in our hands and a win against a very good side Everton will secure our Premier League future. Hopefully we can achieve it, it will be difficult but we have an opportunity to do it,” he added.
Sunderland are 17th in the Premier League with 35 points from 36 games. They are one point ahead 18th-placed Newcastle United with a game in hand, and four points clear of 19th-place Norwich City. Sam Allardyce’s side are coming off the back of two wins and two draws in their last four games, and have suffered just one league defeat in their last nine.
The Black Cats’ form in 2016 has been outstanding considering their lowly position, picking up points against the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, Southampton, Arsenal and Chelsea among others, and they’re now favourites to stay in the division. They next face Everton in midweek, where a win would confirm their Premier League status for another season, relegating Newcastle and Norwich in the process.
Their destiny is finally in their own hands, so can Sunderland fight off relegation?