NORWICH City boss Chris Hughton says it would be wrong to write off Sunderland, regardless of the statistic which says the team bottom of the Premier League at Christmas almost invariably goes down.
But he acknowledges that if the Black Cats are to stay in the division, they need to find a way to turn draws like the one against his Canaries side, into wins.
“Can I see them winning games?” he mused after Saturday’s goalless Stadium of Light draw. “Yes I can.
“They proved that during the week with the victory over Chelsea and I thought they were very good against West Ham.
“They might have beaten us – but these are small margins you’re dealing with in the Premier League and the margins didn’t work for them on the day.
“They certainly have the quality in their squad to win games though.
“They’d just had a really buoyant week before our visit and despite their position in the league they are a good side.”
On Saturday, Hughton watched Norwich not only frustrate a home team which had scored in every home game at the Stadium of Light barring the season opener against Fulham, but also have the better chances to win the game.
Not bad for a team which arrived on Wearside with the leakiest defence outside the relegation zone.
“I’m satisfied with the point,” said the former Newcastle manager. “We’re happy to get a clean sheet and an away point.
“On the balance of play, I thought it was a fair result because we had good chances of our own.
“We were very disciplined and played and defended well and we’ve shown character after having some setbacks in terms of a couple of bad results and injuries to important players.”