ADAM Johnson says Sunderland have to capitalise on Manchester United’s current woes by pushing them all the way in the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final at the Stadium of Light.
The Red Devils are having their poorest campaign for many years in David Moyes’ first season since taking over from managerial colossus Sir Alex Ferguson.
And the former Manchester City winger wants the Black Cats to turn the screw further.
“I think Manchester United are going through their most difficult spell in, what, 10 or 15 years?” he said.
“So if there’s ever a good time to play them, it’s probably now.
“We have to build on our recent decent run and make the most of home advantage and having our fans behind us.
“We’re coming into the game with a cup victory fresh in our minds and although the Carlisle game is gone now – different opposition, different competition, different level – we can still take a bit of a boost from that.
“The mood in the camp is good. We’ve been in pretty good spirits anyway, even before the FA Cup win.
“But if it gives us that extra one per cent on the night, then great.”
Even though United are wounded, and are going into the semi-final with the rare record of having lost their previous two games, Johnson has warned Sunderland will need to be at their very best to get something out of the game.
“They’ve got top quality players and a top quality team, so we know it is going to be extremely difficult even if they are having a bit of a struggle,” he said.
“And I think the key thing is to go to Old Trafford for the return leg knowing that we have a chance.
“But, yes, I would love to see us chasing victory over these two cup games.
“The home tie’s a massive game and we have to focus on that first but it would be great to give the fans a Wembley final.”