Alonso targets a Sunderland awayday boost

Marcos Alonso.
Marcos Alonso.
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MARCOS ALONSO believes a four-point haul from back-to-back relegation showdowns would be an acceptable return for Sunderland.

Sunderland’s inability to find a breakthrough against Crystal Palace last weekend looked to be a huge missed opportunity in the fight for survival, with three points now separating the Black Cats from the safety mark.

But Gus Poyet’s side have another chance to register a crucial victory against one of their drop rivals on Saturday when they travel to Norwich City, looking to move within a solitary point of the Canaries.

And on-loan Fiorentina left-back Alonso admits Sunderland would have taken a total of four points before the two games, to get their survival quest back on track.

Alonso told the Echo: “If we can win at Norwich City, the draw against Crystal Palace will look much better.

“If you’d told us we would get four points from the next two games before Palace, I don’t think that would have been bad.”

Sunderland’s stalemate against Palace was the fifth time this season they have drawn a blank against a bottom half side at the Stadium of Light, with the Black Cats netting just 13 times at home in the Premier League - the same tally managed by Norwich at Carrow Road.

Playing on the counter-attack away from home seems to have suited Sunderland more under Poyet after a six game unbeaten run on the road was ended at Arsenal last month.

Alonso insists he would still prefer to play at home, but admits that Poyet’s style is perhaps better suited to Sunderland’s travels.

“I always prefer to play at home with our fans. For me, there is no added pressure in that,” added the 23-year-old.

“They can be a bit nervous sometimes because we are where we are and it’s not easy. That’s normal.

“But we seem to have been playing better away from home because the games are more open.

“We needed a goal against Palace, but we will go for it on Saturday.

“It’s important what the other teams are doing.

“But we need to focus on ourselves and if we do that, then I’m sure we’ll stay up.”