LEE CATTERMOLE is convinced that Sunderland will beat the drop, if they can maintain their performance levels from Saturday’s stalemate at West Ham.
Sunderland dominated the goalless draw at Upton Park, yet couldn’t find a first away goal since August, despite enjoying by far the best chances.
The Black Cats are now guaranteed to be bottom of the Premier League table at Christmas, with only West Brom, in 2004-05, avoiding relegation from such a position. But midfielder Cattermole says Sunderland’s display in the East End is proof that Gus Poyet’s methods are improving a side who remain five points adrift of safety.
“If we play like that for the rest of the season, I’m sure we’ll be fine,” said Cattermole, who replaced the ill Jack Colback in the starting XI.
“If you look at the team the manager had at Brighton, he’s brought the same gameplan here.
“We’re working on it in training. It’s not easy when you’re bottom of the league, but sometimes that takes a lot of bottle.
“Anyone watching the game wouldn’t think we were bottom of the league.
“The manager said it is the best performance he has seen from his Sunderland side – we controlled the game throughout.
“The message from the manager is that, if we play like that for the rest of the season, we will have no worries.”
Cattermole, making his first start since being sent off at Hull last month, was among a host of Sunderland players who went close to a breakthrough after his 25-yard drive on the stroke of half-time was pawed away by Hammers keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.
The 25-year-old added: “ I think we fully deserved to win the game.
“We controlled the game for long spells and had a lot of attempts at goal, but, on the day, it didn’t happen for us.
“Their keeper has made a couple of good saves and for us to come away from home and show that confidence to take the ball is a positive.
“In the end, the ball just didn’t bounce for us in the box, but we’ll build on that.”