Yann M’Vila admits it’s do-or-die for Sunderland at Norwich City now, even if the Black Cats are facing a pressure cooker at Carrow Road.
Sunderland remain four points adrift of fourth bottom Norwich after squandering the chance to close the gap on the Canaries following a 2-0 defeat against league leaders Leicester City yesterday.
Despite Sam Allardyce’s men boasting a game in hand, Saturday’s lunchtime’s clash at Carrow Road is pivotal towards Sunderland’s hopes of remaining in the Premier League with time running out for the Black Cats to close the gap to safety.
Midfielder M’Vila says defeat to Leicester piles more pressure on Sunderland than the Canaries, and the on-loan Ruben Kazan man believes a victory now has to be regarded as compulsory if Allardyce’s side are to extend their nine-year stay in the top flight.
He told the Echo: “We have to win against Norwich, there’s no question of a draw.
“We have to take the points and absolutely have to win at any cost.
“It’s like a derby, a cup final and we have to approach it like that.
“There will be pressure on both teams, but more on us because there’s four points between us.
“We absolutely need to win because if we draw, Norwich will still have that four-point gap.”
The 2-0 defeat to the league leaders was yet another story of ‘what might have been’ for Sunderland after there was little between the teams for an hour.
Sunderland became ragged after the first of Jamie Vardy’s double, when he out-paced the Black Cats defence to Danny Drinkwater’s raking ball over the top and netted his first goal in seven games.
But even then, Sunderland had chances to earn a share of the spoils, with Jack Rodwell producing a howling late miss.
Allardyce’s men have now won just one of their last 11 games with M’Vila admitting the succession of missed opportunities to record victories has had a psychological impact on the Sunderland camp.
“It’s difficult mentally because every week is the same thing,” added the Frenchman.
“We could have had so many more points when you look at the games against Newcastle, Crystal Palace, West Brom.
“We’ve lost a lot of points.
“That makes me sad and I hope we can do something better next week.
“We’ve asked all the questions among ourselves, but I don’t know why we haven’t won more games - the West Brom game for example.
“Yesterday there wasn’t anything significant between the two teams.
“At half-time, we were good, but there are these key moments in games where we manage to lose. We lose our concentration and the opposition score a goal.
“Before the first goal, we were doing well and we were thinking we could get a clean sheet, either a draw or a win.
“But we lost a poor goal.
“It was a typical Leicester goal and we’d spoke about it at half-time; about them playing long balls over the top.
“We knew we had to pay attention to the pace of Vardy. If you give him chances like that, then you know what will happen.”