Sunderland v West Ham: Coach Charlie Oatway tips Black Cats to survive threat of relegation

Sunderland are four points from safety but Oatway believes the squad have enough belief to steer clear of the dreaded drop

Sunderland coach Charlie Oatway is confident there is enough belief within the squad to get the club out of relegation trouble.

The Black Cats slipped to 19th place in the Barclays Premier League table and four points adrift of safety without kicking a ball on Saturday as Crystal Palace, West Brom and Cardiff all picked up points.

As a result, they will remain inside the relegation zone even if they do record just a second home win in nine attempts in the league against West Ham on Monday evening.

However, Oatway insists manager Gus Poyet and his players and staff did not need a spirited second-half display in a narrow defeat at Liverpool last Wednesday night to persuade them that they can stage a rescue mission.

 

He said: "As a management group, we have not stopped believing and we won't, so it's not even worth asking us as a management group, that side of it.

"But for the players, it was a good second half, mainly, against Liverpool. We created some stuff.

"But it's not been too bad overall since we got here. We have seen it become gradually better performance-wise, more understanding of how Gus wants to play, how we want to defend, so it's not only the second half at Liverpool.

"For the last five and a half, six months we have been here, it's been gradually getting better.

"You still get knocks within that, of course you get your knocks and you get your beatings and that side of it.

"But that's the nature of where we are in the league."

Sunderland have games in hand on all their rivals, but face a series of difficult fixtures as the embark upon a crucial nine-match mini-season.

Sunderland v West Ham match preview

Trips to Tottenham, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United suggest they will have to collect the bulk of the points they need on Wearside, and that means clashes with the Hammers, Cardiff, West Brom and Swansea, who all currently occupy places inside the bottom eight, have assumed even greater proportions.

However, only Stoke have left the Stadium of Light empty-handed in a league game since title challengers Manchester City lost 1-0 in the north-east on November 10, and that needs to change and change quickly.

Oatway, who saw the Black Cats held to a 0-0 draw by Palace last time out on their own pitch, admitted: "Without a shadow of a doubt. I know the away games are so tough, but we need everything.

"We need to try to claw points however we can, especially at home with the games we have got and the teams we have got in and around us.

"We need to turn, for example, the draw against Palace, into wins."

Striker Fabio Borini returns to the squad after missing out against parent club Liverpool under the terms of his loan agreement.

PA

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn