DANNY Rose insists points must override any plaudits for Sunderland this weekend after edging closer to the bottom three.
Sunderland produced arguably their most impressive display of the season so far at Everton last Saturday, yet still succumbed to a third defeat in five Premier League outings.
Just three points now separate Martin O’Neill’s men from third bottom Reading ahead of Sunday’s televised trip to a Fulham side who have lost only once at Craven Cottage this season – and that to Premier League champions Manchester City.
Although left-back Rose hopes Sunderland can draw the positives from their display at Goodison Park, he stresses that the Black Cats cannot afford to keep finding themselves empty-handed.
Rose told the Echo: “We’re in a position in the league where it’s vital you pick up any sort of point away from home.
“Everton was probably the best we’ve played attacking-wise since I’ve been here. But that doesn’t mean anything if you’re not getting any points at the end of the day.
“I’d rather we weren’t creating any chances and get three points, than get nothing.
“It is important we take the positives out of Everton, but we’ve got to look at the chances we missed and the goals they scored.
“If we concentrate on the first half and take it into next week, then hopefully we can put Fulham to bed. We’ve just got to look to Sunday now and put it behind us.”
Rose believes Sunderland must follow Everton’s example if they are to propel themselves up the table.
The Toffees found themselves thwarted by Sunderland’s rearguard action after Adam Johnson’s opener, yet punished the Wearsiders when two quick-fire opportunities presented themselves in the final 15 minutes.
That clinical finishing eluded the Black Cats after spurning three golden first half chances before Johnson’s first for the club.
“We’re bottom five in the league, but the defence has looked solid,” said on-loan Spurs defender Rose.
“It’s just that we’re not scoring enough and we’re making mistakes to give teams to chances to score.
“Teams are being more clinical than us and that’s the bottom line.
“(Marouane) Fellaini had three men around him, including myself, and he managed to score. It shouldn’t happen at this level.
“We were disappointed when we were only 1-0 up at half-time.
“It’s football and you know what’s going to happen. You’ve got to take chances or you’re not going to win.”
Meanwhile, Rose’s predecessor at left-back, Kieran Richardson, has been ruled out of a reunion with Sunderland on Sunday after pulling his hamstring in Fulham’s draw at Arsenal last weekend.
H Sunderland skipper Lee Cattermole is undergoing a scan on the knee injury which sidelined him against Everton.
Cattermole sustained the problem in training on Friday and Sunderland are waiting to discover the severity of the injury.
But Cattermole gave a clear indication last night that he does not expect to be on the treatment table too long, when he tweeted: “Nice phone call off the club doc has made me a very happy lad this evening.”