WES BROWN says a step-by-step approach has been the key behind the turnaround in Sunderland’s fortunes at the business end of the season.
Sunderland are in the midst of their best run of the campaign, with seven points from the last three games moving the Black Cats out of the relegation zone and giving Dick Advocaat’s side a healthy chance of avoiding the drop.
We went to Everton last weekend knowing we had a chance, but we haven’t started looking at Leicester at all until this weekWes Brown
If Sunderland can record a third win on the spin against fellow strugglers Leicester City on Saturday, then it will be sufficient to secure Premier League survival, if third bottom Hull fail to emerge victorious at Tottenham.
For several weeks, the visit of in-form Leicester has looked to be a pivotal game in Sunderland’s hopes of staying in the Premier League – one which the Black Cats HAD to win if they were to escape relegation.
But veteran defender Brown says the Sunderland dressing room have not got bogged down with predicting a path to top flight safety and insists focus has only turned to Leicester over the last 48 hours.
Brown told the Echo: “We knew the games we had left, but we always focused on the next game which is very important.
“We went to Everton last weekend knowing we had a chance, but we haven’t started looking at Leicester at all until this week.
“Obviously the lads got the win against Southampton and then same again against Everton, so we’re showing the commitment.
“We’ve just got to keep it going and try to get a result on Saturday.
“No-one wants to be in the bottom three, but we’ve got to show the same work-rate and commitment in the last three games now.
“Hopefully we can get more results.”
Dogged determination to survive has been as much behind Sunderland’s revival over the last fortnight as any notable upturn in quality after the Black Cats had found themselves in the bottom three for only the second time this season.
That commitment brought a hefty slice of fortune at Everton on Saturday, with deflections off Danny Graham and Jermain Defoe both finding the net.
But after a campaign where Sunderland have not had much luck on their side, Brown was delighted to see the two strikers get on the scoresheet, particularly Graham, who finally ended his wait for a first goal in red and white.
“We managed to contain them and got a few breaks, which we probably haven’t had all season,” said the 35-year-old.
“They had a lot of control of the game, but we’ve always said that we have to work hard, win battles and that’s what we did throughout the game.
“We got the chances in the end and a nice deflection from Danny, and then the second one off JD.
“But we’re delighted to get the points, no matter how they go in.
“Danny has been tremendous in the last couple of games and he’s deserved his goal to be fair.
“We’ve had a few of them against us this season, so it’s nice to get one for us.”
Brown made a key contribution himself after coming straight back into the side following six weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury.
“It was alright after only a couple of days training!” he joked.