Sunderland (England), March 1 (IANS) Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has called on his players to realise the grave situation facing the club as they battle to avoid relegation from the English Premier League (EPL).
Sunderland are second from bottom with just 23 points from 27 games. Allardyce has set his team a target of five wins from their 11 remaining matches, which would take Sunderland to 38 points by the end of the season.
“I don’t think players realize just how important it (collecting points) is. Players tend to think that if the performance is good, that’s it. It’s more than frustrating,” Allardyce was quoted as saying by the Guardian on Monday.
“If we don’t accept the severity of our situation how are we going to cope with it? We can’t keep pussy footing around. The only way we’re going to get out of it is by accepting more responsibility. It’s a results business — as a player or a manager, you’re judged on results — and we have to make sure we get the results we need.”
Sunderland face 14th placed Crystal Palace in their next game and Allardyce believes the pressure is going to be immense on his side.
“The pressure is going to be immense now. It’s whether we can cope with that pressure as well as being tactically astute enough not to let Crystal Palace play to their game plan. But pressure can make you do bad things,” he said.
Sunderland have developed a habit of performing miraculous escapes from relegation, but Allardyce feels that the task will be more difficult this season.
“Not a lot of the players involved in the past (relegation battles) are still here now. Most of them are new — signed last summer or in January,” he said.