Tony Mowbray explains his message for Sunderland players ahead of Championship run-in
Tony Mowbray has told his players to ignore the pressure of the league table as they look to finish their first campaign back in the Championship on a high.
The Sunderland boss spoke earlier this week about wanting to keep fans excited for as long as possible this season, but conceded after a loss to Sheffield United that the top six is looking an increasingly unlikely prospect.
The Black Cats face Luton Town at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon before a trip to Burnley after the international break.
The Sunderland head coach has told his players to take it game by game as they look to improve their poor recent results and stay in touch with the top teams right through the course of the campaign.
"We have to enjoy the football, try and grow as a team," Mowbray said.
"We keep getting thrown different challenges with players we've had unavailable, I think the team have for the vast majority of the season competed really well and that's what we have to do before the last nine.
"We have to see how many points we can get and see where that takes us.
"You have to win games to get into the play-offs and we haven't done that regularly of late, so the gap becomes bigger and that becomes more difficult. Three or four weeks ago it was something that the fans could dream about but it is probably becoming more difficult now.
"From our perspective, that's not dragging us down, we just have to concentrate on the next fixture and play the game. I've talked to the team about having nine big events - let's take them on one-by-one and not worry about the league table.
"I think it's a very obvious thing to do on the outside to look at the table but for us, as footballers, they have to compete and test themselves against players in this league, and keep improving and getting better.
"Hopefully in time we can turn more draws into wins, more defeats into draws, and get this club back to the Premier League over the next few years."
Mowbray is hopeful that Amad will be back to play some part in Saturday's fixture.