Why Sunderland need to start treating their season as a dogfight

The Black Cats are yet to win a Premier League game this season and already find themselves inside the bottom three.

To rub salt into the wound of already downtrodden Sunderland fans is not a pleasant thing to do, and neither is pointing out the obvious - but it is hard to avoid either when talking about the plight of the Black Cats.

Sunderland have been relegation threatened for nearly three years now and, as pointed out in a previous HITC article, going back to their transfer whiteboard from two years ago is not the way to do things.

Now, after yet another morale-denting defeat, this time at home to a way below par Tottenham Hotspur - surely Sunderland fans don't want to hear the same old relegation entrenched rhetoric that was pouring out from Dick Advocaat on Sunday.

"I thought we showed some good moments in the game. That gives me a good feeling," opined the veteran Dutch coach in the Chronicle.

Now, let's not totally disparage Advocaat's thoughts. Yes, Sunderland showing marked signs of improvement, but this was not against a free-flowing Manchester City or a team anywhere near that kin, this was a Spurs side who are as below par as they ever have been under Mauricio Pochettino.

Sunderland lost to a poor side, that is the message that must come from the weekend, and Advocaat needs to admit that. Sunderland were not good, they were poor, and the fact that in mid-September they are odds on favourites for relegation speaks volumes for the dire straits the Wearsiders find themselves in.

  GoalsTotal Scoring AttOntarget Scoring AttTotal PassAccurate PassGoals ConcededError Lead To GoalPossession PercentageAppearances
Sunderland 6 46 14 1,788 1,291 11 1 44% 5

Sunderland stayed up last season with a great effort under Advocaat, as he came in late on and inspired them. He now needs to treat the rest of the campaign, despite this early stage, like a relegation battle.

Some of Sunderland's players seem to be under the impression that their relegation dogfight has not yet started – well, they need to wake up.

Advocaat dropped Lee Cattermole at the weekend - a strong decision, but one which is surely not going to have longevity. Yes, Cattermole has not had the best of starts but his 100 per cent passion is needed, and needed now. Despite being a Teessider, he is the one player the locals can point to as having the right commitment to be worthy of donning the red and white stripes.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch