Sam Allardyce is confident that Sunderland will get something against Manchester United, if they perform as they did against their neighbours City.
Sunderland produced one of the best performances of Allardyce’s four-month tenure against Manchester City last week, yet still suffered a 1-0 defeat, as they were unable to spring a surprise in their desperate need for points in the survival battle.
But with City’s fellow top six outfit Man United visiting the Stadium of Light tomorrow lunchtime, Allardyce believes second bottom Sunderland will at least avoid defeat, if they replicate that display.
Allardyce said: “We’ve got a squad that is ready to deliver the kind of performance that I think the fans enjoyed against Manchester City, even though we didn’t get anything out of it.
“I hope we can deliver that performance, but with a result to make them very happy indeed.
“I’d sooner we play like we did against Liverpool and get a result, than against City and lose.
“But I’m convinced we won’t lose tomorrow if we play like we did against City.”
Even if Sunderland emerge victorious this weekend, they will remain in the relegation zone, with four points separating the Black Cats from fourth-bottom Newcastle.
Allardyce remains optimistic that Sunderland will survive, but believes their hopes revolve around finding some defensive resilience after more than two months without a clean sheet.
He added: “Providing chances for Jermain Defoe is critical for us.
“But our first major problem is that we haven’t kept a clean sheet in nine matches.
“We need to start putting a zero against us in games and if we start doing that we’ll win more matches. If we win more matches, we’ll get out of trouble.
“I think we can avoid the drop, but we are going to have to fight to the end now, based on the amount of points we need to catch up, and the games we have left.”