SUNDERLAND owner Ellis Short is not planning to make a late managerial change at this stage of the season and his stance has drawn support from Premier League counterparts Burnley.

The spotlight has turned on Moyes after Aitor Karanka’s departure from Middlesbrough last week, meaning the Black Cats are the only club in the bottom seven of the top-flight not to have shown the manager the door this season.

Sunderland have propped up the table for the majority of the campaign and their fight for survival was made harder on Saturday after a failure to beat Burnley at the Stadium of Light.

Loading article content

Boos greeted the final whistle with supporters fully aware the situation had worsened; there are seven points separating Sunderland from safety with just 30 points still to play for. Short, who has rarely been at home games this season, was in the directors’ box to watch the action unfold and in certain areas of the media there were suggestions his presence cast doubt over Moyes’ future.

The Northern Echo understands that is not the case. Short believes chief executive Martin Bain and Moyes should be given the time to turn things around after years of constant change on Wearside, which has left the club in a financial mess.

Burnley stood by Sean Dyche after relegation in 2015 and he led them back up last season. They have seen the benefits this time around and sit mid-table at this late stage of the campaign.

Clarets midfielder Scott Arfield said: “100 per cent they should stick with him. I really believe continuity is massive. Burnley are proof of that. It is a weird sport we are in when managers are losing their jobs left right and centre. When we went down, I don’t think our manager’s position was ever in doubt.

“He was not under pressure for what he had done the season before to get us up the first time. When we went down, we were a united group, management and players, focused to get back up at the first attempt.

“Maybe we can act as an example to teams like Sunderland. If they go down, what can happen if you stick with your manager, Sunderland is a huge club. The players here are under tremendous pressure to perform. Sometimes it can affect players. But this is a massive club to play for and fingers crossed, they get it right.”

Moyes played down Short’s appearance by suggesting “everything was fine” and the club’s owner “was entitled to watch his club.”

Burnley boss Dyche said: “We’re a different kind of club, I’ve been here long enough to be given a chance to build and it’s been a gradual process but every club judges things differently and goes their own way. I’m not here to judge anybody at other football clubs and how they go about their business.

“The Sunderland fans want the team to win and they tried to help them. Sunderland were bold in the second half, they went 4-2-4, got the ball forward and crosses into the box, and their fans got behind them. 

“Before the game, I said this was a match Sunderland needed to win. They haven’t managed to do that, but they have tried their best and they have to keep going. They had a couple of good chances, the second half was a really good response and their manager will be pleased with that.”
Sunderland’s inability to find the net for the 13th time this season in the league has heightened the chances of them playing in the Championship.

Moyes is hoping the international break will help them by providing the extra time for Victor Anichebe and Lee Cattermole to work their way back to fitness, although he is concerned they will be lacking match sharpness regardless.

He said: “Hopefully Victor may be back. Maybe Catts. How can they get to match level fitness? Victor might give us another dimension - even if it’s off the bench.”

Moyes will probably arrange a friendly or two during the fortnight to try to help Cattermole and Anichebe, while he is banking on the knee injury Lamine Kone suffered in training on Friday not being serious enough to keep him out long.

Sunderland are in need of as many boosts as they can conjure up with the threat of Championship football edging closer.

“We are getting close to needing something special,” said Moyes. “It’s been done here regularly. Let’s hope. I’m not kidding anyone on – it’ll need some really big results. This was two points dropped.

“The biggest problem is the other results too. But we can’t look at them if we’re not winning ourselves. What they do is irrelevant if we’re not winning.

“Five wins is a target at least. We’ve still not got enough draws. I always thought roughly ten wins - that was in my head.

“I saw a big effort against Burnley but I know it’s going to be tough. We just need a bit to go for us, build some momentum. We’ve got difficult games coming up but we have to try to win them.

“There is a chance. You’d be disappointed if I said no chance. There is a chance. It’s been done. We know it will be difficult.”