Sam Allardyce believes Sunderland supporters can see a huge difference in the side from six months ago, when the Black Cats were prone to serve up “rubbish”.
Despite the overhanging threat of relegation and the four-point gulf to fourth-bottom Norwich City, there remains a sense of hope on Wearside that Sunderland can remain in the Premier League due to the upturn in performances over the last two months.
There was the odd occasion when we were playing rubbish, which we were doing in all fairnessSam Allardyce
Sunderland boasted their second highest home attendance of the season in last weekend’s stalemate against West Brom and, despite the Black Cats’ inability to find a breakthrough against the Baggies, more than 43,500 tickets have already been sold for this Sunday’s visit of league leaders Leicester City.
Allardyce says Sunderland’s long-suffering fans were right to give the team stick during the first half of the season, as he desperately tried to reverse the fortunes of a side who registered just three points from Dick Advocaat’s eight-game reign at the start of the campaign.
But since Allardyce was able to remould the squad in the January transfer window, the Sunderland boss believes the improvement of the side is clear to see.
“The fans have been on-board all season, as far as I’m concerned,” said Allardyce.
“There was the odd occasion when we were playing rubbish, which we were doing, in all fairness.
“They gave us some stick in those games and rightly so.
“It doesn’t take an expert to see the team playing poorly and the fans are right to say ‘what’s this rubbish I’m watching?’.
“We’ve turned that around slowly, but surely.
“The performances we’ve given have been good, but the fans are as frustrated as well are that we haven’t been able to turn them into victories.”
Allardyce’s concern is that, for all of Sunderland’s improved performances, they have still managed only one win in their last seven games – February’s 2-1 home success against Manchester United.
Sunderland have drawn each of their last four matches, when they have held the advantage in three of them and now face the task of derailing a Leicester side who boast a seven-point lead at the summit.
“Our last victory was Manchester United, which left us on a real high,” added Allardyce.
“We should have followed that up with at least wins against Southampton, Newcastle and West Brom.
“That would have put us in a really good position, where we would have been nearly safe.
“But we haven’t managed to do that.”
The deadline for SAFC season ticket renewals passed at 5pm yesterday, but fans are being given extra time to sign up for the 2016/17 campaign at reduced prices.
The new deadline is 5pm on Tuesday.
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