Yann M’Vila says Sunderland’s players need to have a burning desire to win at Manchester City, rather than treat it as another “nothing to lose” free-hit.
Three successive defeats have left second bottom Sunderland needing to spring an upset or two if they are to claw back the five-point deficit to the safety mark, and it would be a major coupon buster if the Black Cats were to come away with something for their efforts from Boxing Day’s clash at Man City.
But for me, every time we go onto the pitch we have to the hunger and belief that we can win.
While the other strugglers at the wrong end of the table have been able to upset the odds against the Premier League heavyweights over recent weeks, Sunderland have suffered 3-1 defeats to both Arsenal and Chelsea.
But while midfielder M’Vila acknowledges the perilous picture of the relegation battle, the French international wants to see a belief in the dressing room that Sunderland can begin to reverse their fortunes at the Etihad.
M’Vila said: “It doesn’t look good, no.
“You just have to look at our situation and common sense shows you the task we’ve got with the position we’re in.
“But for me, every time we go onto the pitch we have to the hunger and belief that we can win.
“I want to do it for my family, I want to do it for these supporters.
“It’s crazy to say that Manchester City is a game where there’s nothing to lose.
“We have to have the hunger that we can win.
“Of course, we need to get more points before it’s too late.
“It’s difficult when you’re five points adrift, but what’s to say we can’t win the next two games?
“There are no matches where you can’t win. “
There was little sign of self-belief in Sunderland’s performance at Chelsea last weekend, at least until Fabio Borini netted when the hosts were in cruise-control thanks to a three-goal lead.
But after five months as a Premier League player, M’Vila rubbishes the idea that Chelsea were ‘expected’ to win, particularly in a season where Leicester top the table and there have been huge upsets on an almost weekly basis.
“Some people will say that because it’s Chelsea, you should lose,” he added.
“No. All the clubs in the Premier League are the same.
“Yes, there’s big clubs and little clubs, but on the pitch, you’re all men.
“You have to be right mentally and have the right hunger.
“We have to do it for this club, for these supporters who come and watch us in such numbers every week.”