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Cattermole: 'Stamford Bridge celebrations were finished within a minute'
LEE CATTERMOLE has revealed that Sunderland's post-match celebrations at Stamford Bridge were curtailed within a minute as the squad immediately set their sights on Sunday's potential relegation decider against Cardiff City.
The Black Cats claimed one of their greatest victories of the Premier League era as goals from Connor Wickham and Fabio Borini ended Jose Mourinho's run of 77 unbeaten home league matches as Chelsea boss.
The win also lifted Sunderland to within three points of safety, a gap that was maintained when Norwich lost at home to Liverpool on Sunday, but while there was obvious satisfaction at a remarkable away win, a sense of euphoria was notably absent.
Earlier this month, Steven Gerrard earned considerable praise when he delivered a rousing address to bring Liverpool's players back down to earth after they had beaten Manchester City, and with Sunderland still facing crucial home games against Cardiff, West Brom and Swansea, there was a similar sense of focus in the wake of the full-time whistle at the weekend.
“We had a celebration in the dressing room, but it probably lasted for about a minute and then we pulled ourselves back together and said, 'This isn't finished yet',” said Cattermole, who was a key factor in last week's four-point haul from Manchester City and Chelsea in the absence of the unavailable Liam Bridcutt.
“As a group, I think we all recognised straight away that the hard work has to start here. It was a great result and it's nice to have made that bit of history by being the first team to win at Chelsea (under Mourinho), but it'll count for absolutely nothing if we don't follow it up.
“We're going to have to get quite a few points yet if we're going to stay up, and that's the only thing we're focusing on now.
“Everybody has been writing us off, but inside those four walls we've always believed and that's one thing we've always got to fall back on. We've got a really strong belief, and that's never disappeared.
“We don't let anything knock us down, and we've come back from setbacks all season. We've given ourselves a real chance, and hopefully we'll go on and finish the job.”
While Sunderland have become adept at recovering from setbacks, they have also developed a rather more unwelcome habit of failing to build on their positive results.
The Black Cats have only recorded back-to-back league victories once this season – following up January's 1-0 win over Stoke with a 3-0 success at Newcastle – and it is surely no coincidence that that spell at the start of the year was also the last time the club was out of the bottom three.
A win on Sunday would definitely take them up to 19th, and could potentially lift them out of the bottom three if Fulham were to lose against Hull and Norwich were to suffer at least a three-goal defeat at Manchester United.
They would still boast a game in hand on the majority of their rivals, but as this season has proved, nothing can be taken for granted when Sunderland face teams in the bottom half of the table.
While they have excelled against the sides challenging for the title, they have failed to beat all bar one of their relegation rivals, so while the performances at Manchester City and Chelsea have provided hope, Sunday's game will be every bit as challenging.
Adept at defending deep and counter-attacking, Sunderland's players will have to take the game to Cardiff and, just as significantly, Gustavo Poyet will have to ensure his squad are capable of handling the mental pressures that go hand-in-hand with such an important occasion.
“We've picked most of our points up against the top teams, so at the start of last week we said, 'If that's the way we're going to do this, stay up by beating the top teams, then that's what will have to happen',” said Cattermole.
“Inside the dressing room, we always knew we were capable of it. But we only got three points at the weekend and we're going to need quite a few more.
“We can't get carried away – this just has to be the start of it. It gives everyone a big lift, and I'm sure the city will be buzzing in the build up to Sunday's game, but as a group of lads, we need to get back to work and go again.”
The fall-out from Saturday's dramatic night at Stamford Bridge will continue today with Jose Mourinho, Rui Faria and Ramires all expected to face charges from the Football Association.
Mourinho will be asked to explain his post-match comments about Mike Dean and Mike Riley, Faria will be censured for his touchline explosion after Borini's penalty, while Ramires will almost certainly face retrospective punishment after elbowing Seb Larsson in the face.
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