Lee Johnson says Sunderland must 'respect' Oxford United and Peterborough United
Lee Johnson remains confident in his side’s chances of winning these next two difficult fixtures but admits his side should be ‘respecting’ the strengths of Oxford United and Peterborough United.
Unbeaten in 11, the Black Cats are within touching distance of an automatic promotion spot, despite struggling to stay in a play-off spot just over a month ago.
However, the Wearsiders’ head coach will not settle for complacency with Oxford and Peterborough looking to end Sunderland’s hot streak.
After a different pressure of getting automatically promoted has been added in recent weeks, Johnson spoke about how his side will deal with the nerves.
“As we say pressure is a privilege we put ourselves in this position through the players’ fine work and good attitude and now there are some really big games coming up but there were big games 6-7 matches ago and we came through it.”
The Black Cats boss has also revealed the upcoming difficulties going into the final stretch of the season with only 10 left to play.
“I think its that concentration, that is the hardest thing, to not fatigue mentally and tactically and that’s the bit where you’ve really got to switch on, there will be sides in this division that do switch off in 4 or 5 of the last 10 games, we’ve just got to make sure that we’re not one of them.”
He continued, “Obviously we have something to play for which gives us a focus and just trying to keep our eyes on the prize really and keep looking forward like we have done so well recently.
Johnson added: “We’ve got a job to do in the first one against Oxford at home and we’re under no illusion about how tough the game will be because they’re a very, very good footballing side.”
Despite his cautionary approach going into the next fixture, the Sunderland boss maintains his stance that his squad are concentrating on their own game.
“We’re certainly not fearful of the opposition, it's just about respect and it’s about respecting their strengths, it’s about us trying to impose ourselves on their weaknesses, that's about game planning, players confidence and that we concentrate much more on ourselves than our opponent.”