THEY are without a league win since February 1, but Lee Cattermole insists Sunderland have not written off getting a shock result at Manchester City tomorrow.
The Black Cats go into their rearranged trip to the Etihad Stadium rooted to the bottom of the table and seven points from safety.
Saturday’s home defeat to Everton, their fifth in a row, was compounded by wins for Fulham and Cardiff City, and time is running out for Gus Poyet’s side to avoid dropping into the Championship next season.
They face a Manchester City side desperate to keep their title hopes alive after Sunday’s 3-2 defeat to Liverpool, but while Cattermole admits their quest to avoid relegation is getting harder by the week, the midfielder believes the Black Cats are capable of getting a result in the north-west.
“It’s getting harder, but while there are points to play for, we can win,” Cattermole said.
“You can’t write off games like Manchester City and Chelsea, teams have been there in the past and won, but if we are to stay up we have to start picking points up. We’ll keep going and that’s the type of performance we’ll demand from each other.”
Poyet’s men turned in a spirited performance against the high-flying Toffees on Saturday, only to be undone by a Wes Brown own goal after the defender had accidentally diverted Gerard Deulofeu’s cross past Vito Mannone.
It was their sixth own goal of the season, but Cattermole believes it was purely down to luck rather than an individual mistake.
He said: “Maybe they’re the type of goals you concede when you’re down at the bottom, but there was no real error in the goal, while at the other end we had a lot of chances in their box.
“They didn’t go in, I’m not sure if that’s a lack of quality from us, good defending from them or a bit of both. It’s a really disappointed dressing-room but there are positives to take from that.
“We’re not doing anything wrong on purpose, you know what I mean? Anyone who looked at that game and everything suggests you’ve got a top, top team in Everton, but if you looked at us you wouldn’t have thought we were bottom of the league.
“The problem is that we haven’t done that enough, we’ve got to find a way to repeat that performance. That’s the level we need to be playing at to give us a chance of picking points up.”
Sunderland will be without the suspended Phil Bardsley for tomorrow night’s game after he collected his tenth booking of the season on Saturday.
Poyet is likely to turn to Ondrej Celuskta, who hasn’t started since February 15, to fill in at right-back.