Lee Cattermole feels Sunderland showed their mettle in difficult circumstances against West Ham, even if their failure to win has left them ‘with an absolute mountain to climb’.
The Black Cats spurned a chance to cut the gap to safety to seven points, but Cattermole says other results mean they have to see it as a point gained. Hull, Swansea and Middlesbrough were all beaten over the weekend.
The atmosphere threatened to turn toxic on Saturday afternoon before Wahbi Khazri’s equaliser, and Cattermole was impressed with his team-mates response.
He said: “We need to build on the performance,
“I don’t think it is an easy place to play here, with the situation we’re in, the position in the table, to go behind twice, to stick at it the way we did, to get the ball in the right areas, I felt it was as good as a performance as we’ve had for a long time.
“It’s a tough time for us but look at the way the lads took the ball, they didn’t just shell it, got in the final third and made some good opportunities, this could be a big point for us.
“The lads took the ball and I thought were brave with it, played some good stuff at times. It is a point gained, sometimes you’ve just got to start there. The other teams have lost so it is a point gained. It still looks an absolute mountain to climb but we’ll give it a good go.”
Cattermole himself continues to battle his way back to full fitness after a prolonged lay-off this season.
His cause was not aided against the Hammers by a yellow card inside the first minute of the game, but the 29-year-old managed to play 76 minutes before being replaced by Adnan Januzaj.
Cattermole admits he is short of where he wants to be buit will soldier on for the rest of the season.
He said: “It’s difficult, I’m not going to hide the fact, how long I’ve been out, how tough it is and how hard it is when I’m out there to get to where I want to be at, but I’ve got to just keep going, get to the end of the season and help the team out as much as I can.”