Black Cats need fighters - Rose
Danny Rose has warned his Sunderland team-mates they need to be ready for a scrap as they attempt to drag themselves out of an alarming slump.
The Black Cats had hoped for a maximum return from successive home games against West Brom and QPR after ending their wait for just a second Barclays Premier League victory of the season at Fulham. However, Tuesday night's 0-0 draw with Harry Redknapp's new charges, coupled with a 4-2 defeat by the Baggies, left storm clouds hanging over the Stadium of Light after just a single point was banked. Rose, on loan at Sunderland from Tottenham, knows something needs to change quickly if the club is to avoid slipping into a similar situation to the one which prompted Steve Bruce's departure and Martin O'Neill's arrival a little short of a year ago. He said:
"Even at the weekend, we were disappointed in how we had lost the game and last night was a game we wanted to win and we thought we could win.
"It was always going to be difficult with a team who have just got a new manager because they will get an extra 10, 20 per cent buzz around the team and the confidence builds up, and it was difficult.
"But nobody can afford to hide now, We need 11 fighters on the field and seven fighters on the bench who are willing to come on and help us.
"We have got a great team spirit and we are just waiting for our luck to change."
The statistics make for unpalatable reading. The Black Cats have now won just four of their last 27 league games, the last three of them against 10 men. Indeed, they have not claimed three points against 11 men since they beat Liverpool 1-0 on Wearside on March 10, and little of that will have gone unnoticed by owner and chairman Ellis Short, who was at last night's game just days after his club had to move to dismiss rumours that O'Neill had offered his resignation. Rose was one of the few Sunderland players to emerge from the latest disappointment with any credit after the visitors responded to the challenge of impressing their new manager in concerted fashion.
Indeed, had it not been for Black Cats keeper Simon Mignolet, who put Saturday's howler against the Baggies behind him to make vital saves from Djibril Cisse, Jamie Mackie and substitute Shaun Wright-Phillips at the death, they might have left with all the points. That said, Rangers keeper Julio Cesar did well to keep out Steven Fletcher's first-half effort and when a groin injury prevented his re-appearance after the break, replacement Rob Green produced an even better stop to prevent the Scotland international's header from crossing the line. There were boos for the home side as they left the pitch on the final whistle, and while the Man of the Match award proved little consolation for Rose, he was remaining positive. He said: "I know I am here on loan, but for me, this is a chance for me to show everybody what I can do.
"I don't know what's happening with my Tottenham career, so I am playing for my future at the minute.
"I know it's difficult for the lads who are here full-time and I'm only on loan, but I just want to give 100 per cent and I am always positive."
Rose, of course, played under Redknapp during his time in charge at White Hart Lane and while he might have wished for a less positive start for the 65-year-old in his new post, he was delighted to see him back in the Premier League after his untimely exit. He said:
"There was a part of me that wanted to score the winner, but I am happy that he's back in the job with Kevin Bond and Joe Jordan.
"I wish him the best of luck and I hope he can keep the team up. Hopefully it won't be at our expense, but I hope he can do great things there."
Meanwhile, O'Neill was today bracing himself for news of skipper Lee Cattermole who, having shaken off a knee injury to start the game, damaged the other within seven minutes and could not continue.
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