Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sam's Warning on Basement Battles

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sam's Warning on Basement Battles

Article excerpt

Byline: James Hunter Sports Writer @JHUNTERCHRON

SUNDERLAND'S clashes against relegation rivals Swansea City and Bournemouth this month are 'no-lose' games, according to Sam Allardyce.

With the Black Cats four points adrift of safety, the pressure is on them to win against sides around them in the table - and they could cut the gap to just a single point if they win against the Swans at the Liberty Stadium tonight.

But, while Big Sam knows a win would give Sunderland's survival chances a massive boost, he says first and foremost they must ensure they do not lose ground on their rivals.

"There are games that you look at where for me, they're nolose," said Allardyce, whose side won one such game when they beat basement boys Aston Villa in their most recent league outing.

"If you lose those fixtures, then you have to make up those three points against the top boys.

"While the club has achieved that over the last few years to achieve relegation, it's not what you want to rely on because sooner or later, it's going to catch up with you.

"We've got to go out against Swansea as we did against Villa and as we did against Arsenal - get in front and then try to maintain our lead to a win. "But if we can't win, make sure we don't lose, so at least at the end, Swansea are no further ahead of us than they are today.

"If we can go away and win it, then it alleviates our problems even more, against someone that's close to us."

Allardyce has also highlighted the importance for Sunderland of scoring the first goal, with the Black Cats failing to take a single point from any game in which they have fallen behind since he took over - although neither have they dropped a point after getting their noses in front.

He said: "We haven't won a game from going a goal down, we haven't even drawn a game.

"Arsenal [in the FA Cup] was the first game I'd lost when we'd scored first, so that was a disappointment. …

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