Cattermole challenges Sunderland team-mates to dig deep in survival fight

The Northern Echo: CHANGE NEEDED: Lee Cattermole admits that Sunderland need to start a winning run soon CHANGE NEEDED: Lee Cattermole admits that Sunderland need to start a winning run soon

LEE CATTERMOLE has challenged his struggling Sunderland team-mates to answer Gus Poyet’s calls and prove they are good enough to stay in the Premier League after slipping five points adrift at the bottom of the Premier League.

The Black Cats’ precarious position at the foot of the table was compounded by wins for fellow strugglers Crystal Palace, Fulham, Norwich and Stoke over the weekend.

Poyet’s side face a huge challenge to claw back the five-point deficit and lift themselves away from trouble and the Black Cats boss admitted in the aftermath of the Spurs defeat that he has challenged his squad to prove they deserve to stay in the top-flight.

A chance to close the gap at the bottom doesn’t come any bigger for Sunderland than this weekend’s trip to 17th-placed West Ham United.

A win for Sam Allardyce’s side would increase the gap to safety for the Wearsiders and Cattermole admits time is running out for the squad to put a run of wins together to try and move off the bottom of the table.

“I totally agree that it's got to come soon,” said Cattermole, who was a second half substitute against Andre Villas-Boas’ side. “We're fortunate that we've got a lot of games coming up. If we can get a point at West Ham it'd be a very good point and then you can try and get some momentum.

“We just haven't done that. We went to Stoke after the Man City game and lost, we went to Hull and lost after the Newcastle game. You think you can get it going after those wins but then we take a backward step.

“It's all about hard work and effort and determination. If we do that and dig in, our quality will shine through in the end.

“Football is all about learning every day. I've seen things which have disappointed me but you have to move on and keep going.

“I think we have to put everything behind us and keep moving on because that's the way football is. If you start believing your own hype you're in trouble.

“You can be a world beater after two games. We see it now with the kid (Adnan Januzaj) at Man United - two games was all he'd played. I'm sure he's going to be a very good player but you need a bit of perspective.

“That is just the way it is with the media and Twitter and everything. You have to forget about that and get on with your own work.”

Having managed to record only two league wins all season the Black Cats dressing room isn’t a happy place, but Cattermole insists players doubting themselves must look at defender Wes Brown to see what can happen.

The former Manchester United man spent almost two years out through injury, but since coming back he has been one of Sunderland’s better performers and Cattermole had this message for his team-mates.

The midfielder said: “Look at Wes Brown. If you'd have asked 90 per cent of Sunderland fans they'd have said 'Let him go, he's not played for however long'.

“He's come back and played every game and they're singing his name again because he's been our best player over the last few games. You need to keep going and keep believing you can get back to your best form.”

West Ham will offer a different test to the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham, but Cattermole believes their performances against the two London clubs suggest they are more than capable of coming away from Upton Park.

“It's a big strong team. We all know what Sam Allardyce's teams are about,” Cattermole said. “They're going to physical, they're going to want to play on the second balls. We've got to be organised. I'm sure the gaffer will set up a team that can go down there, be discipline and do what we can do away from home.

“He told us exactly what he wanted from us the moment he came in so we knew. We've played some very good teams recently: We played Man United, Chelsea and Tottenham, who are challenging the top four.

“We've not been blown away by them so we're not too far. The gaffer is still confident, he still believes the way he wants us to play is the way we should play and we're learning every day.”

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