Wise Men Say: Let’s not take foot off the gas

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As our collective heart rates calm down and the blood reclaims alcohol’s presence in our partied-out bodies, it’s time to wake up to the realities of Premier League survival again.

The joys and elation of that ridiculously one-sided 1-0 win will live on with us forever, even when the law of averages dictates we can no longer defeat one particular side time and time again.

But, let’s be frank, this is a relegation battle still and tomorrow is a vital game.

Anybody who suddenly thinks a corner has been turned needs to cast their eyes back to when Paolo Di Canio rolled into town as the new saviour, re-energizing a side that had played with its shackles on for too long, beating them lot up the road in the process.

That side hobbled over the line, bloody and wounded, after it initially seemed survival would be achieved at a canter.

Yes, Dick Advocaat has levels of experience and know-how the Italian will never ever acquire, but this squad of players keeps failing for a reason.

It would be senseless to start speculating over exactly how many points are actually required for the end goal; QPR the latest reminder that the form book rarely stays true during these frantic end of season run ins.

But Sunderland have to win games, and ideally do so before tackling the Premier League’s top two current sides in the final week of the season.

There can be absolutely no way the metaphorical foot can be taken off the metaphorical gas here.

Crystal Palace themselves are an example of what can be achieved when a new manager comes in with some fresh eyes and ideas, and though any side near the bottom ordinarily hopes to play against mid-table sides with little to play for, The Eagles are on a run of form suggesting the very opposite of them being prepared to roll over for their hosts tomorrow.

The absence of Seb Larsson could be a real pain the backside too.

The three central midfielders worked brilliantly in tandem against Newcastle and the Swede, very possibly player of the season, is a vital cog in the industrious midfield machine that provides the running and cover for the three centre forwards and overlapping fullbacks.

One thing I am certain of, is that the atmosphere should be a positive factor from here on in

While it’s obviously unrealistic to suggest that the intensity and volume of the crowd noise will be sustained from derby day, a more direct and faster approach to the game will guarantee that fans will get off their seats and appreciate effort levels more.

Whether that is desirable for the long-term blueprint of the club is a debate for another day.

What is absolutely vital in the here and now, is that the Black Cats don’t lose this game first and foremost.

This is a Palace side bursting with confidence and extremely happy within themselves and I hope people understand that should we find ourselves go a goal down early on.

Whatever happens, it certainly feels good to be looking forward to games again.

Ha’way The Lads.


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