Hard work the key for Sunderland

Sam Allardyce has pledged to work his players so hard they suffer nightmares about training ground defending drills.

Sunderland: Hard work the key for Sunderland Sunderland: Hard work the key for Sunderland

Black Cats boss Allardyce insists the route to Premier League safety now lies in relentless hard work and little else, after missing a fine chance for victory in Saturday’s draw at Southampton.

Jermain Defoe’s late strike put Sunderland in control only for Virgil van Dijk to equalise in injury time, leaving Allardyce deflated but quickly plotting hard graft ahead.

Sunderland now have a weekend off before a massive match with local rivals Newcastle on Sunday, March 20, with Allardyce insisting the extra preparation time will not be wasted.

“Well the training programme will be different for the players, and there will be more emphasis on us being technically better in possession,” said Allardyce.

“It’s about improving our final third play and delivery, and opening the opposition up.

“I thought we got to the final third on a huge amount of occasions but could have provided the final ball better.

“And of course the most important thing for me is they’ll be sick and tired of defending.

“Obviously there will be defending practices, and they’ll be so sick of it they’ll be sleeping and dreaming about it.

“I would have liked to have been going into the Newcastle game having got these three points.

“But if we’d have got the three points even if they win against Leicester next week they couldn’t have caught us.

“Whoever wins the derby is probably going to go ahead of each other by the looks of it.

“And we’ve got to make sure we can try to be the winners again if we can.”

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