I’VE PLAYED in games like the one we face this weekend – relegation battles where the pressure is cranked up and you can almost feel the tension – and they’re never easy.
But given Sunderland’s position in the league, every time we play a team in the bottom half it’s now going to be a “must-win” game, especially when you are at home and the fans will demand nothing less than three points.
It’s time for Sunderland to deliver. There is still just about time to get out of the mess they find themselves in, but you only get so many opportunities and if they keep being wasted, then there’s no way back.
Norwich are no mugs – they’ve got a couple of wins on the road this season.
But they are not a team to fear and, after a string of home games against the top teams, this is a chance to gain some momentum.
I’m convinced Sunderland will get chances in this game as Norwich have conceded a massive 21 goals away from home – the most in the league – so their defence is hardly water-tight.
When these chances come though, we’ve got to be far more clinical in our finishing than we were at West Ham last weekend.
Every game that goes by now, increases the pressure and Sunderland need to be strong mentally to deal with it.
Even if Sunderland win on Saturday, we’ll still be bottom of the league at Christmas, but at least three points will keep us within touching distance of the teams above.
But Sunderland cannot even think about failing on Saturday. Every player needs to be up for it with a positive mindset.
If they deliver three points against Norwich, it would be the best Christmas present any fan can wish for.