Gary Rowell: David Moyes’ ‘relegation’ comments have made no difference – they were least of Sunderland’s problems

Sunderland manager David Moyes.
Sunderland manager David Moyes.
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After a 10-day rest, Sunderland resume their Premier League campaign with a bottom-of-the-table clash against Middlesbrough at the Riverside tomorrow night.

Boro provided the opposition for our very first home game, way back in August where an awful 2-1 defeat which set us up for a season to forget.

After the game David Moyes said it was only going to be a relegation battle and he has taken plenty of criticism for those comments.

Personally, I wouldn’t have said it.

Even if that is what I thought, but at the same time I can’t see how it has made any difference to our season.

If I was a player in the dressing room and my manager said that I would use it as a motivating factor to prove him wrong and if any of our players are using that as an excuse for this disastrous season, they shouldn’t be wearing the shirt that the fans revere.

There have been so many things that have gone wrong since the summer both on and off the pitch that have had a direct affect on a dismal season that in my opinion Moyes’ admittedly ill-judged comments after the Boro game come way down the list.

With both clubs favourites to go down I am not expecting a classic.

Before our last game, Sunderland were on a lengthy goal drought and Boro have scored even less, with both teams lacking quality and creativity.

Although Boro struggled to score, up to Saturday’s thrashing at Bournemouth with ten men, they have usually been well organised defensively and their goals against record is better than a lot of clubs above them.

I’m not sure why they have struggled for goals, as unlike Sunderland they seem to have plenty of options up front Negredo, Gestede and Bamford and they had Jordan Rhodes for the first half of the season, maybe the supply up to them has been poor.

If so, that is one thing we have in common.

With both teams so far behind, even if one of them wins the odds are they will still go down, which says everything about the wretched season both sets of fans have had to endure.