LEE CATTERMOLE is eager to develop the attacking side of his game after going closer than anyone to ending Sunderland’s goal drought.
The display of the Black Cats’ skipper was one of the few positives to emerge from Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa after twice going perilously close to opening his account in red and white – firing just wide in the first half and then forcing a save out of Brad Guzan with Sunderland’s first effort on target in the 84th minute.
But Cattermole was unable to become the first Sunderland player to boast a goal to his name since Steven Fletcher’s winner against Wigan in September.
The 24-year-old is confident Sunderland’s fortunes will turn in the final third though, after their failure to add to their measly six Premier League goals saw Martin O’Neill’s men succumb to a second Stadium of Light defeat within four days.
Cattermole said: “I was very disappointed not to hit the target (with the first shot). It’s the side of my game I’m trying to work on.
“The lads are absolutely devastated. It’s not just quite happening for us at the minute.
“If you look at the action areas of the pitch, we dominated the game.
“I thought the wide players did better, we got crosses in, but every time it went in the box, it just seemed to drop to a green shirt.
“Even towards the end of the game, I managed to have a shot and it’s ricocheted out past (Louis) Saha and (Steven) Fletcher.
“If we can manage to score first in a game, it would give us such a lift in confidence and it would definitely have an effect on the opposition as well.
“I’m not a massive believer in stats, to be honest with you, but there’s no hiding from that – we haven’t had enough chances.
“But it’s something we are working on and we believe in the team we have. There is too much quality in that dressing room for us not to turn this around.”
Cattermole was also quick to dampen any question of disharmony being at the root of Sunderland’s problems.
“We’re sticking together,” added the midfielder.
“It’s as good a dressing room I’ve ever been in.
“We’re not going to start arguing. There’s points that need to be made, but that’s football.
“No-one’s happy to be losing games. But hopefully we can win more than we lose this year.”