Sunderland boss aims to wipe smirk off critics’ faces

Chris Coleman after Saturday's game.
Chris Coleman after Saturday's game.

Chris Coleman believes the pressure facing Sunderland in the relegation dogfight is greater due to the size of the club – but he is aiming to have the last laugh.

Sunderland’s spirits have been buoyed on the training ground thanks to the stunning comeback to snatch a point in the 3-3 draw at Ashton Gate.

The point gained against Bristol City may have boosted confidence, but the relegation picture worsened with Hull City’s win leaving Sunderland three points adrift of safety.

Coleman took the Sunderland job on because of the size of the challenge and the size of the club.

Coleman says some people outside of Wearside have a “smirk” on their faces when they see the club again battling the drop following relegation from the Premier League, but the 47-year-old is determined to lead the Black Cats to safety.

Coleman admits while the pressure is greater, the responsibility of representing Sunderland is something to relish and thrive on.

“No disrespect to Burton, but we are Sunderland and the fact we are in the bottom three is a huge story,” said Coleman.

“People keep looking at you all the time and saying, ‘whoa, they’re in the bottom three – wow’.

“People outside of Sunderland look at you with a smirk on their face because we are such a big club, we were in the Premier League last year and now we are fighting against back-to-back relegations.

“People like to look at that and keep you down there if you let them.

“The pressure on us in a relegation dogfight is a bit different to one or two of the others. But that is because we represent Sunderland.

“The whole point of coming here is the history of the club, it’s a big club, and you have to accept the responsibility of representing Sunderland.”

Sunderland host Brentford, tenth in the Championship, at the Stadium of Light on Saturday ahead of a crunch away fixture at Bolton Wanderers next Tuesday before the visit of Middlesbrough the following Saturday.