Why Alex Neil is 'loving' life at Sunderland ahead of defining fixtures in play-off race

Alex Neil is relishing the pressure as Sunderland look to book their place in the play-off places this week.

By Phil Smith
Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 6:00 am

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The Black Cats face Rotherham United on Tuesday night, who themselves are still fighting for a top-two spot. Neil's side then travel to Morecambe on Saturday, who will be battling to retain their League One status.

Neil's side have been steadily improving since his arrival in February.

“I’ll be honest, I look forward to every game, I really do," Neil said.

Sunderland boss Alex Neil

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"I spent nine months out of work, and when you’re out of work, you cherish every minute when you’re in a job.

"At the moment, I’m loving it. I love the group as well, they’re a brilliant group to work with."

The stakes could not be higher for Sunderland but Neil feels his players have shown they are capable and he also feels the pressure is something they are well used to.

“Rotherham are fighting to get promoted," Neil said.

"Both games are going to be equally as important, and equally as hard for different reasons. Both teams are fighting for their lives for different reasons.

"They’re going to be challenging in different ways, but we’re not picky where we win, we want to win them all. We’ll go into the next one and try to win it.

“Since I’ve walked in the door, everybody who speaks to me says how big the next game is," he added.

"The simple fact is when you’re at Sunderland, every game’s a big game because the expectancy from the club and the fans is that we win every match, and that’s fine.

"I go into every game we play knowing we want to win, so we’ll be trying to win and trying to play as well as we can. It doesn’t change.

"There’s certain teams where there might not be as much pressure or scrutiny, so when they come into big games, it’s a different type of moment for them.

"For us, we live and breath is every other day really because there’s that much scrutiny and expectation. We’re expected to win all the time, so we’re used to that really."