Wise Men Say: Apathetic atmosphere a worry ahead of must-win Burnley clash

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The word of this season has been “apathy” and nothing summed up the apathetic atmosphere surrounding Sunderland than the second-half performance against Manchester City yesterday.

After City went two goals up, the match resembled a pre-season friendly and the atmosphere was much the same.

Perhaps there was an acknowledgement that Pep and Co are simply just miles ahead of us and such a routine defeat was a given, but, with the Lads rock-bottom and six points away from safety, you’d have expected some outpouring of emotion.

Be it outright anger, rivers of tears or even the maniacal laughter of a person simply driven insane.

As the game wore on, though, there was nothing from the stands. Just pure resignation to our dire situation.

In fairness, it was painfully dull to watch the second half, like sitting in a dentist’s waiting room before going to get all of your teeth pulled out – you’re bored now but you know that the real horror is still to come.

There were some signs of life in the first half though, as Adnan Januzaj looked creative going down the right and Billy Jones went close with a couple of headers.

The big “what if” came when Jermain Defoe hit the woodwork for the second time in as many games and Fabio Borini failed to capitalise on the rebound.

It wasn’t a straight forward ball for Borini to put away but had he adjusted himself in time, it could have been a day where Sunderland gave themselves a lifeline and a fire could have been ignited amongst the support.

Instead though, all the Lads can do is “take the positives”, but we’re not really in a position to do that.

It’s points we need, not positives.

Yes, it was better than last week’s surrender at Everton, but that’s the minimum any of us should expect. If that’s what makes us fans happy these days, then we really have been beaten down far too much.

So hungry are we for something to smile about, we’ll expect the smallest, most stale crumb from the table.

There’s nothing to smile about though, not only are the team still shipping goals for fun but it’s drying up at the other end.

One thing that’s given even the most pessimistic fan a degree of hope was that, with Defoe, there’s goals in the team.

However, our passing has once again reverted to pedestrian at best and the team don’t seem able to break with any sense of urgency.

Now that the next outing against Burnley is yet another “must win” game, David Moyes will need to find a way for his team to get up the field quickly or they’ll never break down such a well-organised side.

A loss to Burnley, a team who are still without an away win all season, could see the aforementioned apathy turn to furious discontent.

A win would certainly do the opposite, but it’s honestly hard to kid myself that will happen.

Burnley at home – a game I’m genuinely worried about.

What a season.

* The Wise Men Say podcast is available from every Monday, with SAFC debate from a variety of guests and post-match reaction from David Moyes. You can stream it direct from wisemensay.co.uk or subscribe to it on iTunes