Do Sunderland need to ‘gamble’ in the relegation dogfight? Sam Allardyce responds

Sunderland striker Dame N'Doye
Sunderland striker Dame N'Doye

Understandably, Sam Allardyce was asked this week whether Sunderland needed to start gambling in the relegation battle.

With the games running out for Sunderland to secure their Premier League status, some supporters have questioned whether the Black Cats have to adopt a gung-ho attitude to record the six victories that Allardyce believes they require to avoid the drop.

Should Sunderland have thrown men forwards in the latter stages of the draw with fellow strugglers Bournemouth last month?

Could they have even done it after pulling the game back to 2-2 at Liverpool last weekend?

But Allardyce was adamant that Sunderland have already taken a big calculated risk to stay in the top flight.

In a swift response to the question, Allardyce said: “We’ve already gambled. We gambled in the market – big gambles to bring four players in from abroad.

“Only one of those four players (Dame N’Doye) has played in the Premier League before.

“That gamble has already paid off with the performances they have given.

“We’ve taken that calculated risk and I think delivered better, and will continue to deliver, more consistent performances.”

However, while the new boys have impressed, it has not corresponded with an improvement in Sunderland’s position.

Ahead of the visit of Manchester United, Sunderland remain four points adrift of safety, with those relegation rivals immediately above the drop zone continuing to boast the knack of recording victories when required.

Allardyce says Sunderland have to purely concentrate on their own fortunes though and reach a minimum total of 38 points to survive.

“Normally when you get back-to-back wins, it gives you a bit of breathing space,” he said.

“But the minute we’ve done back-to-backs, is the minute someone else has done the same.

“The very least we have to achieve is 38 points from 38 games though. That’s the very least. Those points have to come from somewhere.”

The comeback at Liverpool has at least given the Black Cats a psychological boost in the relegation battle.

“It had a very good impact in the dressing room after the game,” added Allardyce.

“Instead of coming in with their heads down, sitting down and looking at the floor quiet and miserable from what has happened, it was a bubbly dressing room after a very precious point.

“It gave us all a big lift.

“As long as you say never say die, you can come back in any game.”