Lee Cattermole is urging Sunderland to take a leaf out of Newcastle’s book as they look to bounce back from their self-inflicted wounds.
The Black Cats head for Crystal Palace on Monday evening having endured a nightmare fortnight, scoring three own goals in an 8-0 defeat at Southampton and then handing Arsenal a 2-0 victory on a plate at the Stadium of Light last weekend, courtesy of individual errors from Wes Brown and Vito Mannone.
As a result, Gus Poyet’s men have slipped into the Barclays Premier League’s bottom three, rekindling memories of last season’s desperate fight for survival.
In the meantime, arch-rivals Newcastle have lifted themselves out of the drop zone with victories over Leicester and Tottenham, and booked themselves a place in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals following an unexpected win at Manchester City.
Cattermole said: “It can change so quickly – look at Newcastle up the road. That’s football.
We’re looking to bounce back on Monday, it’s a massive game for us.
“We can’t get too carried away with a couple of bad results. We’ve all been here that many times. We’ve got to cut the errors out. You cut them out and you suddenly make teams beat you.
“But it’s a hard thing to do.”
Sunderland did just that last season when, having gone into the final six games of the season seemingly doomed to life in the Sky Bet Championship, they managed to draw at Manchester City and win at both Chelsea and Manchester United as they collected 13 of the last 18 points on offer to stay up.
While there may be trepidation on the terraces over the club’s current plight, there is a belief within the dressing room that the picture is far from as bleak as that which has been painted, and Cattermole insists the last two games have to be put into perspective.
He said: “Results are the big thing but as players, you tend to judge by the performance. We were on the pitch and you feel the way the game was going.
“We went down to QPR and got beaten 1-0 and everything you read in the paper wasn’t great, but we actually dominated them from start to finish. They couldn’t get two passes together.
“That was an enjoyable game to play in, even though we got beaten 1-0. We felt we were there all the game, pushing. I know which team I would have wanted to be on.
“We’ve got to think about some of the positive performances and not get too downbeat about losing 2-0 to Arsenal. We’ve got to bounce back.
“We know how punishing the league is and we’ve got to look to move on as quickly as we can.”
Cattermole will run out at Selhurst Park on four bookings for the campaign and knowing a fifth is inevitable sooner or later because of the nature of his game.
However, he has worked hard on his discipline and is confident he has made progress.
He said: “I’ve played every minute of every game so far, so there’s a good chance I’m going to get booked.
“Maybe that would have affected me more when I was younger, but five bookings before December 31 – that’s maybe 18, 19 games. (Calum) Chambers got booked in the first five games of the season (he was booked in five of the first seven league games) without a mention, Jack Wilshere and Jonjo Shelvey missed a game.
“There’s been a couple I haven’t been happy with, but it’s part of the game, isn’t it? It’s basically not a problem.
“I wouldn’t want to miss a weekend. If I miss a midweek it’s not so bad, but a weekend disrupts your rhythm.”