Gary Rowell: Sunderland need to keep nerve against Spurs

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SPURS visit this weekend and it is vital that Sunderland keep their nerve in the wake of two defeats in a row.

You can’t overemphasise how habit-forming football is – winning becomes a habit, losing becomes a habit, goalscoring becomes a habit, failing to score becomes a habit – and Sunderland need to ensure that they keep their confidence for this weekend’s game.

They need to remind themselves that they are a formidable prospect at the Stadium of Light and they need to remember that last season’s game against these opponents produced one of the best games I’ve ever seen at the Stadium of Light and Sunderland came out on top.

The players and the supporters have to be positive going into the game because we’re getting to the business end of the season now and now is not a time for faint hearts.

The game should be a complete contrast to the one against Stoke. Spurs play open, attractive, attacking football and they’ve always had a touch of big-city glamour about them, a London club now in the Champions League.

But one thing about Spurs is that they usually give you a chance in the game. There’s always that moment where they are a little bit loose at the back or have too many players pushed forward and Sunderland have to look to exploit that.

If it’s half as good as this fixture was last season, it will be a match to savour.