Sunderland must cut out silly mistakes to avoid relegation, says Adam Johnson

Winger admits home game against fellow strugglers Reading tomorrow will be vital

Adam Johnson has stressed the importance of Sunderland's home game with Reading tomorrow after they fell into the bottom three, calling for his team to cut out the silly mistakes.

Sunderland conceded goals either side of half-time in a 3-1 defeat at home to Chelsea on Saturday, firstly through a needless penalty conceded by Sebastian Larsson and then at the start of the second half when Phil Bardsley failed to control a cross.

Those errors were in direct contrast to a battling display from Martin O'Neill's side, who were clapped from the field of play, despite the defeat and falling into the relegation zone.

"I don't care who you are, it's impossible to win games single-handedly, but as a team today there were lots of positives apart from the silly goals we conceded," said Johnson.

"We were good and bad in equal measure. The Reading game is massive for us and it was always going to be even before this match. Everyone knows it's our game in hand, and it's important. If we play like we did today, we'll do well.

"It's up to us to try to do everything we can to win. It's different from last year because it's a totally different style of play. I have to do a lot more, because last season I could stay high up the pitch and didn't have to do much tracking back. It's totally different here.

"I felt at times we were very good. We keep conceding silly goals and that's costing us. With a bit of luck though we could have got something out of that game.

"I haven't felt a lack of confidence in recent weeks, but it hasn't really been happening for me. It's not really been happening for the team, either. It's hard to get yourself going when the team's not performing.

"I think we've started to play well as a team and you'll start to see the best of me as well. The confidence in the dressing room is fine but everyone is just eager to win.

"Everyone's so frustrated because we know we've got the ability to win games. There are loads of games to play. If we win a couple of games we're out of the drop zone. Then everyone will be saying we're looking well. There's not a lot of points between eight or nine teams and it's too early to say we're in a relegation battle."

Danny Rose, the on loan Tottenham full-back was once more outstanding for Sunderland and O'Neill admitted: "He wants to remain at the football club and that is encouraging and if he went back to Tottenham, particularly with [Benoît Assou-]Ekotto getting fit again, the chances are he wouldn't play that often, so it's certainly worth a look at anyway.

"He would love to stay here. He's got on terrifically well with everyone. The players have taken to him, everybody has taken to him. Most importantly, the crowd have taken to him and rightly so because he has been absolutely outstanding. I always felt he had that potential, but he's playing remarkably well.

"It's important that everyone sticks together, it's exactly that. The crowd here have seen difficult days before, but have battled through them. They will naturally be anxious and a bit frustrated, but in the not too distant future it will be naturally important that they stick with us. I've never been one to ask the crowd to do something that is absolutely and utterly against their will. I felt they were genuinely behind the team and that's gong to be very very important on Tuesday night.

"We were in the bottom three this time last year, just before we played Blackburn and to win the game gives you a psychological boost," O'Neill added. "

For us on Tuesday night, winning the game, regardless of how we do it – it would be great to play football like we did in parts today – is the most important thing."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
Life and Style
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own