Sunderland v Southampton: Boss Claude Puel backs his ‘angry’ Saints to make life tough for Black Cats

Sunderland's Jack Rodwell tracks Nathan Redmond in the 1-1 draw at Southampton in August. Picture by Frank Reid

Sunderland's Jack Rodwell tracks Nathan Redmond in the 1-1 draw at Southampton in August. Picture by Frank Reid

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Southampton manager Claude Puel is expecting a reaction from his “angry” players when they visit rock-bottom Sunderland tomorrow.

Yet the Frenchman, whose side’s 3-1 home defeat to West Ham last weekend was their sixth loss in seven Premier League games, is also wary that Sunderland’s improved form means the Wearsiders pose an increasing threat – in Saints’ last game ahead of the EFL Cup final later this month.

The Black Cats’ survival hopes have significantly improved after they held Tottenham to a 0-0 draw before winning 4-0 at Crystal Palace last weekend, despite remaining at the foot of the table.

Puel knows his team’s poor recent form means Sunderland will again be confident of another positive result at the Stadium of Light (3pm kick-off), but he said: “The squad is angry with the last results.

“We have to correct this and give a good answer.

“We have to keep a good ambition. We cannot accept this position and the last results. It’s not us.

“I saw all of this week a good level.

“For the first time in a long time, we had a whole week to prepare for the game.

“(Sunderland) have confidence from their last result. We will need to show strong character.

“The best way to prepare for the EFL Cup final (against Manchester United on February 26) is with a good result this weekend against Sunderland.”