Chris Coleman knows Sunderland’s chances of beating the Championship drop are being widely written off – and he is desperate to give supporters something to cling onto this weekend.
Barnsley’s midweek draw with Norwich left Sunderland five points adrift of safety, with just nine games to play.
The Tykes play Millwall tomorrow lunchtime, meaning the gap could have increased to eight points by the time Sunderland kick-off against Preston at the Stadium of Light.
Barnsley also boast a significantly better goal difference as things stand.
Sunderland are without a win in nine Championship games and, while Coleman admits the pressure is rising, the manager insists the situation can still change quickly.
Coleman said: “Every game that goes past when you’re on a losing run, everything is amplified and there’s even more pressure.
“Preston are going for the play-offs and doing well, but it seems like the theme every game we go into, because everyone is doing better than us.
“But it isn’t too late to change that, and until it is I’ll never change my outlook.
“Yes, it’s scary, but let’s go for it, change the feeling that Sunderland are a write-off and will never get away from where we are.
“It can change very quickly, but we’ve got to keep going until we can’t any more.
“If you come up short in other areas then you can accept it a little bit more, but you can’t accept a lack of trying.”
Coleman admitted after last week’s 1-0 defeat to QPR that his side are lacking composure in both boxes, and thinks that confidence is having a significant impact on his team’s attacking output.
He said: “A lot of it is confidence issues. That only gets better with performances.
“It’ll never happen if you’re just trying to get through the game, staying under the radar.
“You’ve got to put yourself out there, offer yourself up, come what may, give everything you’ve got and when that happens good things normally come to you.
“We all make a mistake, like Steeley did, at QPR and we’ve got to share the burden.
“Then, when we score we share it all. It is about all being together and having that siege mentality. It only takes one win, 90 minutes, to give people that hope.”
Coleman reiterated his belief that better times are around the corner as he featured in Sunderland’s season card renewal campaign.
Current card holders who renew before April 24 will get access to prices discounted by up to 16%, as well as a number of concessionary packages.
Chief executive Martin Bain said the club wanted to reward its core support, as well as attracting the next generation of fans to the ground.
In the promotional video, Coleman said: “We can’t change the past, but we can change our future, because Sunderland AFC is a proper club, where graft, determination and commitment are valued more than anything. Young or old, it’s in our blood.
“This is not the place to be if you haven’t got heart or courage. When I arrived, I said that someone had to turn this club around. This club will turn, and when it does…”