JACK Colback is confident Sunderland can continue their trait of bouncing back from adversity to put their top eight bid back on track.
Hapless Sunderland equalled their heaviest defeat under Martin O’Neill at Goodison Park yesterday after Everton’s 4-0 victory extended the Black Cats’ winless run against the Toffees to 18 games.
The loss saw O’Neill’s side drop out of the top half, although in a congested pack occupying the middle ground in the Premier League table, Sunderland are just a point shy of eighth-placed Norwich City.
Colback knows Sunderland must be radically improved against basement boys Wolves on Saturday and hopes the Black Cats can respond in the same way they did after poor displays against West Brom, Everton in the FA Cup and Blackburn – when they drew at Newcastle, Manchester City and beat QPR in the subsequent games.
The 22-year-old told the Echo: “We’ve bounced back well before. You never want to have a game like yesterday or put in a performance like that.
“But we have shown the character to come back before and do well in the next game and that’s what we’ll be looking to do.
“We’re certainly looking to finish top eight and with the run of games coming up, it’ll give us a chance.
“We’ve got to look to Saturday and put in a better performance than yesterday.
“We’ve had a few games like that where we’ve won three or 4-0.
“When you’re on the ascendancy like that, it’s great and everything seems to come off.
“When you’re on the other side of it, it’s hard to keep going, but you’ve got to and make sure it doesn’t get any worse.”
Sunderland held their own in a dire opening 45 minutes before the effects of two games in 48 hours began to show after a weakened Everton side took the lead early in the second half.
With O’Neill’s men failing to test Toffees keeper Tim Howard, Sunderland’s hopes of extending a three-game unbeaten Premier League run were extinguished in the final 15 minutes when Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman scored carbon-copy goals inside 60 seconds.
“I don’t think tiredness is an excuse because it’s the same for every team up and down the country and the same for every player,” added Colback.
“We had a tough game on Saturday, but that’s part and parcel of football. You have times like this at Christmas and Easter and you’ve got to come out of them doing well.
“There were a few tired legs, but it was no excuse for the performance.
“We were very much in it in the first half, even though neither team played very well. It was 0-0 still and we fancied our chances.
“But the first goal going in halted us and the two goals in quick succession just killed it. They were two good finishes, but we need to get tighter really and prevent them getting their shots in.”