Andy Welsh fears a draw against Southampton will not be sufficient for Sunderland to lift the Under-21 Premier League.
Sunderland moved five points clear at the summit of the U21 League yesterday after a 2-2 Stadium of Light draw against Southampton, yet second-placed Manchester United boast FIVE games in hand on the Black Cats.
United face the first of their remaining fixtures against Chelsea tonight, with Sunderland’s final game of the season coming at Spurs next Monday.
And development coach Welsh admits that Sunderland realistically needed to register maximum points against Southampton to really put the pressure on United.
Welsh said: “We wanted to win. I don’t think it’s probably going to be enough.
“But, saying that, United have got Chelsea home and away, Southampton away and Tottenham away, and Middlesbrough at home.
“If we can take the three points at Spurs, you never know. When we go to White Hart Lane, we’ll be top of the league no matter what. We’ll see what happens with United against Chelsea, but if we can get three points at Tottenham, it still keeps the pressure on.
“This season has been wonderful and we’ve had some really good development of our young players, so we should be very proud so far.
“But we’ve got to try to get the three from Spurs and try to make it interesting.”
Sunderland twice came from behind to salvage a point, with George Honeyman and sub Luke Molyneux pulling the hosts level – the latter goal coming in the last minute just moments after Southampton had regained the lead.
“Southampton were very compact and made it difficult for us, but I thought once again, we were a little bit too extravagant around the edge of their box,” added Welsh.
“We didn’t get enough shots off or test their keeper enough from our possession.
“It was one of those days where you don’t know whether to criticise them, or praise them, because they came back in the last few minutes to get a point. It was only Luke’s second appearance from the bench and he got a goal, and we’ve got to give the Under-18s these opportunities.”