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Borini: 'We are not the worst team in the league'
FABIO BORINI is adamant Sunderland are in a false position in the Premier League – and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho seems to agree.
The Black Cats returned to the foot of the table when Crystal Palace beat West Ham on Tuesday evening, and the following night’s chaotic 4-3 defeat to Chelsea means they remain there ahead of tomorrow’s home game with Tottenham.
Gustavo Poyet’s side are five points adrift of safety, but Borini does not believe their difficulties fairly reflect the ability within the squad.
And after his Chelsea side were pushed all the way on Wednesday, Mourinho also made a point of spelling out his admiration for Sunderland’s efforts.
“We don’t feel like the worst team in the Premier League, because we are not the worst,” said Borini, who is currently keeping England international Adam Johnson out of the starting line-up. “That is the mentality we have to keep. We have to keep a winning mentality and know what we are capable of.
“If we play the way we did against Chelsea, we won’t get relegated. We do not deserve to be at the bottom. Playing like that against a top team was good, but the key will be doing it against our rivals at the bottom.
“The manager told us that even Mourinho congratulated us on our performance. Mourinho said he was surprised by the performance, and that is good.”
Wednesday’s defeat was Poyet’s first reverse at the Stadium of Light since replacing Paolo Di Canio, but Sunderland’s spirited resistance means the result has not dented confidence too much despite the concession of four goals.
The Black Cats were the first team to score three goals against Chelsea since Russian side Rubin Kazan claimed a 3-2 win in the Europa League in April, and their bold approach reflected Poyet’s desire to stick to his principles of attractive, attacking football despite the club’s struggles at the foot of the league.
“We are a different team from when Poyet took over,” said Borini. “We lost 4-0 that day to Swansea, but he has started to pick the right team and build up a way of playing that is different. And he is trying to pick the best players now.
“We are capable of playing good games and doing well. To score three goals against a team who won two European trophies in two years was a positive – but we obviously conceded four.”
Borini was persuaded to join Sunderland on August transfer-deadline day by Di Canio, but the Italian barely featured under his compatriot.
His fortunes began to change when he came off the substitutes’ bench to score an unforgettable winner in October’s Wear-Tyne derby win over Newcastle, and he has started the last two matches on the left-hand side of Sunderland’s midfield.
He is approaching the halfway point of his season-long loan from Liverpool, but is refusing to look beyond May at this stage.
“I am happy now I am playing again after six months,” he said. “My last game (before moving to Sunderland) was the final against Spain in the Euros (European Under-21 Championships), so I am happy to be playing two games in a week. The loan spell is until the end of the season, so I respect that.”
Meanwhile, former Sunderland loanee Danny Rose has been ruled out of tomorrow’s game with Tottenham.
Rose, who enjoyed a successful loan spell at the Stadium of Light last season, was due to return from a foot injury at the start of the month.
However, a thigh problem has hampered his recuperation, and while he is back on the training ground, Andre Villas-Boas will not be considering him for selection this weekend.
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