Mensah still confident of Sunderland top six finish

John Mensah
John Mensah
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JOHN Mensah remains confident that Sunderland can achieve their top six ambitions despite their worst slump of the campaign.

Sunderland blew the opportunity to regain sixth spot at Liverpool’s expense at the weekend after tasting a third successive defeat for the first time this season.

Consecutive losses to Chelsea, Stoke and Tottenham have dampened Sunderland’s chances of qualifying for Europe ahead of a testing run which sees them face three of the top six in the next four games.

But Sunderland remain just two points shy of sixth position and defender Mensah insists Steve Bruce’s side must keep the faith that they can halt their losing streak.

Mensah told the Echo: “It’s not good to lose three games in a row.

“Normally Sunderland always win at home and then draw away.

“It’s difficult to take but we have to keep our minds together and keep working hard.

“I believe we can get back our form. I still have confidence that we can finish in the top six.

“We’ve just got to make sure we keep working hard.”

Mensah bemoaned Sunderland’s fortune in Saturday’s defeat to Spurs after his Ghanaian team-mate Asamoah Gyan had given the Black Cats an early lead.

The on-loan Lyon centre-half felt Sunderland hadn’t been unduly worried by Champions League-chasing Spurs until the hosts lost concentration on the stroke of half-time and gifted England defender Michael Dawson a soft equaliser.

Mensah admits defeat left the Sunderland dressing room on a major downer heading into a fortnight’s break before their next Premier League outing at Everton on February 26.

“It was very disappointing because we were determined to get three points before the break,” said the 28-year-old.

“Things didn’t work out and you have to put some of that down to bad luck. The way we played, we deserved to win the game.

“But Spurs got the victory and now we’ve got to focus on the next game.

“In the first half we played well and played like a team. It was a great finish from Asa – good control and he took it well. Asa works hard when he is alone up there. I think he did well.

“But we lost focus to concede the equaliser before half-time.

“In the second half, we had to go out to win the game but it didn’t work out. Tottenham didn’t play too well in the first half but they kept their shape and that’s why they got the victory.”