Sunderland attacker on physical Burnley test, David Moyes and international hopes

Adnan Januzaj admits that relegation-threatened Sunderland face a tough test against Burnley tomorrow.

Friday, 17th March 2017, 6:20 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:03 am
Adnan Januzaj gets away from Manchester City's David Silva. Picture by Frank Reid

But he says that the remarkable scenes in the Champions League show anything is possible.

The Black Cats have failed to beat the Clarets on three occasions this season, hammered 4-1 at Turf Moor on New Year’s Eve and beaten 2-0 in January’s FA Cup third round replay.

A second string Burnley outfit drew 0-0 at the Stadium of Light in the initial tie, although they have yet to win an away game in the league this season.

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Januzaj says that Burnley will offer a stern physical test, but he is confident that the bottom-placed Wearsiders have the strength and conditioning needed to land a positive result.

He said: “We have played a lot of games against them this season. We know how they play.

“They are not an easy team to beat – they are very physical and we have to stick together as a team and be physical and be hard to beat.

“In our heads is not to think about how they play.

“My mindset is we have to win the game.

“We have 11 games left and we have to try to fight for every single game.

“You know you have to do twice as much to try to turn it round. We do competitive games in training and that is how you get your fitness up.

“I am not even thinking how they play. A game is a game and anything can happen. PSG against Barcelona – who would have believed that?

“You always have to believe. You have to work hard and try and win the game with everyone working hard to get the three points.”

On-loan Januzaj has also given his firm backing to manager David Moyes as the Scot embarks on a rebuild of Sunderland.

The Belgian first broke through at Manchester United when Moyes was in charge, sparkling in an early-season 2-1 win at the Stadium of Light.

The 22-year-old’s indifferent form has mirrored his team’s this campaign, but he is adamant that injuries have made things difficult for Moyes and is positive about the rest of the season.

Januzaj said: “He is a good manager. We will do well under him. He wants the top players and it’s not easy in the first season because you don’t know the club, you have to try to survive.

“This has been a club where you have to fight for survival.

“They are good players we have missing. We have had a lot of injuries.

“It is not easy for a manager to change the team a lot. I heard we changed the team a lot this season, but he didn’t have a choice because of injuries.

“The big teams always have a second team as well, if you want to think of it like that. At Sunderland, we have tended to have the 11 players and a few on the bench.

“We don’t have many players. That’s why I am trying to stay fit to help Sunderland.

“Sunderland have had worst starts in the league and still stayed up.

“This position doesn’t mean anything and why we are all staying positive.

“If you don’t stay positive you might as well give all the points to the opposition.

“I think we have kept going and, even against Manchester City (in the recent 2-0 defeat), we played quite well in the first half. (In) the second half they took control.

“We have been doing well in many games, but if we concede it gets harder because you have to double your effort because the opposition try to keep the ball.”

Januzaj is waiting to hear if he has earned selection to his national side, after earning high praise from boss Roberto Martinez following his starring role in Sunderland’s 4-0 win ay Crystal Palace last month.

The attacker is focusing on the crunch clash with Burnley, but he hopes to fight his way into international reckoning.

He said: “It’s nice to hear comments from Roberto Martinez like that. It gives you confidence.

“There is national team next week and I won’t know what will happen. I am focused on Burnley first.

“I know Belgium are watching me. They watch every single player. I know that.

“Me, my game is to show the people what I can do and hopefully play for the national team.”