Moyes: We have forgotten how to win
Sunderland boss David Moyes admits his pride has been hurt by his ongoing battle to rescue a club which has "forgotten how to win".
The 54-year-old Scot could suffer the ignominy of taking the club down to the Sky Bet Championship after a decade in the Premier League if they lose to Bournemouth on Saturday, with fans in open revolt as a traumatic season approaches a seemingly inevitable conclusion.
Sections of the travelling support at Wednesday night's 1-0 derby defeat by Middlesbrough turned on Moyes, owner Ellis Short and the players with relegation looming and while he has vowed to battle on, the manager concedes the club's plight is agonising.
He said: "Oh, it hurts me, it hurts me totally. I'm certainly not smiling and laughing and enjoying myself. You want to have a winning feeling. Maybe we've forgotten how to do that.
"We have forgotten how to win. We have got to find that and we have got to get it back quickly."
For all Moyes is currently bearing the brunt of mounting frustration on Wearside, he inherited many of the problems he is currently facing with toxic debts making for a bleak financial picture.
He and chief executive Martin Bain have been handed the task of implementing a long-term plan and although relegation is not part of that, Moyes insists he has the appetite to see it through and has no intention of walking away.
He said: "I'm here, I'm doing the job, I'll be working as hard as I can preparing the players to try to win tomorrow. We need to win tomorrow.
"We don't want to go down, but we also want to build momentum. We want to try to get a winning feeling back, we want to try to finish the season as well as we can if that's possible. That's my aim at the moment.
"A long-term plan is definitely needed for this football club. Unfortunately, a lot of people want to talk about it, but they don't actually want to see that this is the way it has to happen.
"But we will put it in place. There are a lot of things done behind the scenes we are trying to improve on."
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe will not allow himself any sympathy for Moyes.
While the spotlight may be firmly on Moyes and his future with the north east club, Howe insists he can only worry about getting the Cherries closer to securing their own top-flight status once again. They are currently on 38 points, seven clear of the scrap for survival.
"My focus is always on us and our team and players, making sure we are at our very best," Howe said at a press conference, reported on the club's official website.
"It is difficult to have sympathy with an opposition manager until after the game as the focus is so much on your team."
Howe added: "We are not safe until it is mathematically done. We would love to get over 40 points this weekend, that is the one every one talks about, then we can move on from there.
"It is about continuing our progression and momentum, but it will be a difficult game, any away game in the Premier League is tough, so we will not be underestimating Sunderland.
"I have seen many amazing things in football, so our mentality has to be to go out against a tough side fighting for their lives.
"While there is hope for Sunderland, they will keep going, especially with their manager and the challenges he has faced in his career."