Sunderland dare to dream but manager Chris Coleman wary of complacency


Chris Coleman savoured the 4 – 1 thrashing of promotion-chasing Derby County at Pride Park last Friday but knows they still have a lot of work to do if they are to pull off the greatest escape of all.

The former Wales boss knows better than anyone that Sunderland hasn’t won back-to-back games previously this season and remain five points adrift of safety.

Birmingham City, fourth from the bottom of the table, are staging their own revival, winning consecutive games, tempering some of the relief at the win over the Rams.

As per a report from Chronicle Live, Coleman said: “At Christmas, we beat Forest away and then we played Barnsley at home and we were rubbish, really poor, nervous.

“Barnsley dictated the tempo that day and they ended up winning from a set-play. I will speak to the players about that, about backing it up and having the courage to back it up.

“We have to look at Monday as being the last game for us.”


Facing Sheffield Wednesday this afternoon, Coleman knows they must improve their form in every game between now and the end of the season. “I am not putting extra pressure on us,” he noted; “It is what it is.”

There was no glossing over the fundamental problem which sees the Wearsiders facing consecutive relegations, taking them from the Premier League to League One.

“We haven’t won back-to-back games this season. We have to look at it after the last game and see where we come out at the end of it.”

Sunderland have a tough run-in, facing promotion hopefuls Fulham and champions-elect Wolverhampton Wanderers in their final two games. Before that, there are relegation six-pointers against Reading and Burton Albion; survival is going to be hard-fought.

The consolation for Coleman is that Birmingham City face an equally difficult final seven games. Garry Monk’s side has the solace of points in hand to keep them going.

Sunderland’s backs are against the wall; can they get the Stadium of Light to back them through to the end of the season? Repeating the performance levels of Friday’s win at Derby will be a good start.

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