Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sunderland Have the Spirit to Stay Up

May 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Specials

Although Sunderland’s draw with Stoke City wasn’t enough to banish their relegation fears, it has given their manager Paolo Di Canio the confidence that his team have enough spirit and quality within their ranks to maintain their Premier League status for next season.

“I saw the fighting spirit I wanted to see and the quality,” Di Canio said following his side’s comeback to draw 1-1 with the Potters. “Stoke in the second half had two shots from distance. We dominated the game completely and if you don’t have quality you can’t do that,” he added, having seen John O’Shea salvage a point for the Black Cats, despite Craig Gardner’s first half dismissal.

Since arriving at the Stadium of Light Di Canio has guided Sunderland to seven points from a possible 15 but last week’s 6-1 defeat to Aston Villa has left the Mackems fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table.

With a trip to Champions League chasing Tottenham to come on the last day of the season, this weekend’s game at home to Southampton has taken on extra significance for the Italian, but he remains confident that his side have the ability to see off the Saints. “Sunday will be a difficult game for sure but once again we play at home and if we do the right things we are going to stay up,” Di Canio added.

Di Canio’s short reign at the Stadium of Light has been nothing if not dramatic. In his five games in charge there have been monumental highs as well as crushing lows. The 3-0 win over Newcastle United at St James Park may go down as Di Canio’s greatest achievement in the eyes of Premier League betting news pundits but his ability to lift his side following their hammering at Villa Park should not be underestimated.

Many lesser teams would have been rocked by such a thumping defeat but Sunderland used it to draw strength in adversity against Stoke City and, if they continue to show such spirit against Southampton, then they will make light work of Mauricio Pochettino’s men.

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