Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McCarthy: We'll Take Nothing for Granted

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McCarthy: We'll Take Nothing for Granted

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Mick McCarthy last night warned his players that they will not receive any gifts over the Christmas period as he mounted a furious bid to dispel the threat of complacency pervading through the Stadium of Light dressing room.

Sunderland will resume their promotion challenge against Burnley this afternoon and, having won eight of their last 12 league fixtures, the Wearsiders will approach their reunion with Steve Cotterill and his side in high spirits.

Stephen Wright has demonstrated the mounting confidence within the Black Cats' camp by revealing the target for a team aiming for elevation to the Premiership is a maximum 12 points from a hectic festive programme.

But the defender's positive prediction was met with an angry response from his manager ( as McCarthy admitted that the weight of expectation which has accompanied Sunderland's impressive run of recent results is the source of considerable annoyance.

"I don't get carried away with it," said the Black Cats boss, who with Wigan and Ipswich without a match until their summit meeting at Portman Road on Tuesday night, is determined to take all precautions possible to ensure his team do not miss this chance to close the gap on the only two sides above them in the Coca-Cola Championship standings.

"I can feel it and I can smell it; there is a suspicion around this place. We have Burnley, Leeds, Forest and Gillingham all coming here and, when people look at the league table, they assume that we will just pick up these points.

"That's a load of rubbish and it drives me mad. People have already added these points up and it's nonsense ( absolute garbage. Every match will be the same: tough. The players might be saying that, but I'm not going to. They can say what they like, but it doesn't mean anything; they have to go out there and earn it."

Sunderland are three wins, six points and seven places better off than they were at the corresponding stage of last term and, having perfected the art of winning while not always performing well, it is no wonder that the club's forthcoming fixtures hold few fears for a group of players with their sights on top-flight football. …

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