Confident Cana only looking up
SUNDERLAND might not be in the position owner Ellis Short would want in the Premier League, but summer signing Lorik Cana has outlined the squad's desperation to improve on an increasingly worrying situation. Cana was satisfied with the work-rate and commitment at Arsenal on Saturday, but the 2-0 defeat failed to ease worries of a third successive fight against relegation. Despite a change of manager in the summer, the Black Cats are only three points above the drop zone despite early season hopes that a top ten finish could be achieved. But Cana is confident the personnel in the Sunderland dressing room have the quality and desire to turn things around. The most important thing is to keep your spirit. In our situation every defeat is hard. But we are ready for the battle, said the former Marseille player. The manager has told us that this is the time for us to show great spirit. I agree with him and think we showed that against Arsenal. If we take that mentality into these next four or five home games then I am confident we will be okay. I am a fighter I never give up but I think we have a team who have great fighting spirit. I try to lead my teammates by showing a strong mentality and hopefully giving them the belief to get through this period. Apart from the trip to Aston Villa on March 6, four of Sunderland's next five matches are at the Stadium of Light, with Fulham, Bolton, Manchester City and Birmingham all visiting Wearside. But having failed to win any league match, home or away, since defeating Arsenal in mid-November, there is little confidence that their search for a win will end quickly. But with Lee Cattermole due to return from a onematch suspension against Fulham and hopes that Andy Reid will have recovered from his hamstring problem, Cana is satisfied relegation fears will not increase. We never seem to start with the same 11 players and that is the key to a successful team having a strong side who get used to playing alongside each other week after week, said Cana. I can only think of a couple of times when we've played the same team in succession. Anton Ferdinand and George McCartney played beside me in midfield at Arsenal, they gave it 100 per cent. But it's not easy to be a defender coming in to that position and I tried to help them and talk to them a lot during the game. All the players that have come in have done well but we have Cattermole back for the next game and that is important. We need Andy Reid back as soon as possible too because they are both important players for us. I really believe when we have our strongest XI we can do well against any team in this league. The FA, meanwhile, have hit Sunderland manager Steve Bruce with a £2,500 fine for his critical comments of referee Andre Marriner. Bruce was asked to explain his criticism after the defeat at Manchester City in December, when he was infuriated by the official's decision to send off Michael Turner. Turner was red-carded for a challenge on Gareth Barry and a three-match ban was increased to four when the FA felt Sunderland's appeal had no prospect of success. Bruce labelled Marriner's actions as obscene, a joke and an outrage and the FA have warned him about his future conduct. An FA statement read: At an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing, Sunderland manager Steve Bruce was fine for improper conduct. The commission took into consideration Bruce's admission of the charge and his previous exemplary record in relation to media comments. Two Sunderland players have been named in the Scotland squad to face the Czech Republic on March 3, with goalkeeper Craig Gordon's return to the fold meaning he joins full-back Alan Hutton in the ranks. Middlesbrough midfielder Barry Robson has also been called up. Cana is in the Albania squad who play Northern Ireland, with George McCartney and Trevor Carson named by Nigel Worthington. There are also call-ups for Paraguay's Paulo Da Silva and Ireland Under-21 international David Meyler, while Marton Fulop will play for Hungary against Russia.
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