Sunderland in miracle territory as Chris Coleman addresses fading survival hopes

Aiden McGeady fights to create an opening against Norwich. Picture by Frank Reid
Aiden McGeady fights to create an opening against Norwich. Picture by Frank Reid
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Chris Coleman stopped short of admitting that Sunderland need a miracle to survive, but that’s the scenario facing the Black Cats.

Norwich City defender Ivo Pinto’s 89th-minute equaliser at the Stadium of Light last night, levelling George Honeyman’s goal, leaves the Black Cats on the brink of relegation.

Sunderland are six points from safety, with just 12 points to play for ahead of Saturday’s trip to Reading.

Coleman knows his side need to win all four of their remaining games just to stand any kind of chance.

When asked if Sunderland are now in miracle territory, Coleman said: “We need four wins now, don’t we?

“The pressure we could have put on Reading, we have to go there on Saturday and, if we beat them, there would be loads of pressure on them.

“Birmingham lost as well.

“It is 12 points to play for, the gap is six. The gap has lessened a bit, but we should be here now saying ‘it’s game on Saturday’,

“But we have given ourselves more to do. I have to say to the players in terms of their mentality, keep it going.

“We can’t give too much more in terms of effort, making chances and scoring goals, but we are lacking a streetwise mentality. It cost us against Norwich City, for sure.”

Sunderland produced a spirited display with chances aplenty for both teams. Aiden McGeady missed a first -half penalty and Ovie Ejaria, in for the injured Paddy McNair, wasted a glorious one-on-one chance to open the scoring.

Sunderland did break the deadlock in the 63rd minute through Honeyman’s seventh goal of the season, but their inability to defend set pieces again cost dearly, with Pinto slotting home at the death after a free-kick wasn’t cleared.

What made it worse was all the other results at the bottom of the Championship went in Sunderland’s favour.

Norwich boss Daniel Farke said: “It was a crazy game. During the game, I was asking how many chances do we need to score?

“It was unbelievable how many chances we missed, but the late equaliser is a sign of our mentality.

“We had two excellent chances after that too.”