Wise Men Say: Victory over Manchester United can kickstart Sunderland’s escape

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At the start of the year we managed to take seven points from Aston Villa, Swansea, Tottenham and Bournemouth.

Finishing that run of games with a disappointing home draw to our South Coast relegation rivals, it felt like we’d under delivered.

I think that in part was down to other positive results achieved by the sides down the bottom.

On reflection, I wondered if we would have taken seven points from those games if offered before the Villa match. I think most of us would have.

Facing Manchester United tomorrow presents us with a chance to end another difficult run of games with four points, following the Manchester City and Liverpool games.

Again, if offered that I think most of us would have taken it.

A draw at Liverpool was a good result considering how the game panned out. Strangely though, from a pure enjoyment perspective, I preferred the Manchester City match.

We pressed them into errors, forced chances and looked a threat.

We just couldn’t take the chances and we’ve seen that so many times this year.

With only 13 games remaining we need more than draws; we need to go for the throat again tomorrow.

The time for pragmatism and taking games in isolation has gone.

A draw at Liverpool on paper looks good, but in reality they’re not the force they once were and we know they could have been got at.

I’m not sure why we played them like they were the side that came so close to winning the league two years ago. They aren’t.

We need to win half of our remaining games to give ourselves a chance of survival and therefore we must give ourselves every chance of defeating Manchester United this weekend.

Typically, United appear to have found a bit of form all of a sudden.

They were also in good nick when they dished out a 3-0 thrashing earlier this season.

That’s just the way things seem to have gone for us this year.

We desperately need a bit of luck somewhere down the line if we’re to survive, and we’ll have to play to our optimum most weeks too. It’s a tall order.

All of the new boys seem to have come in and improved things.

Frustratingly though, with so few games remaining, my gut tells me it’s unlikely that they’ll have enough time to turn things around for us.

It’s going to take another great escape from the lads and the sooner it begins the better.

Again, it seems typical that we’ve had a decent transfer window for once and it could all come to nothing in the long term should we not avoid the drop. That’s Sunderland!

Whabi Khazri is going to have to be the man to make things happen and the initial signs are good.

We need him to shine and really make his mark against one of the biggest names in world football.

If he can make people sit up and take notice while steering us to victory, people might begin to talk about us more positively.

Then maybe I’ll begin to think a bit more positively.

Then, just maybe, we’ll be in the Premier League next season. Just maybe.