Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce says he might start praying

Sunderland Gates

The Black Cats kept their first clean sheet since November, but failed to register at the other end, leaving them four points adrift of safety.

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce praised his team for what he called the best display since his arrival, but berated the fact they could not find a winner against West Bromwich Albion. He joked in his post-match press conference that he may seek divine intervention, as reported by Sky Sports:

"I think I need to go back to church and start praying or something like that. I'm not quite sure what I need to do because I can't ever imagine in my long career dominating a game for so long, creating so many chances and actually not winning it."

He went on to say how the result may prove to be especially damaging, allied with Norwich City's defeat of his ex-club, Newcastle United:

"It's a cruel blow on the basis of the position we are in and the such desperate need that we are in for points, and tomorrow when we wake up with will feel so much more dejected on the basis yes, we played outstandingly well, yes, it was the best performance I've had since I've been here, but it was only one point again and not three and Norwich get that little bit further away from us."

Sunderland finally got the clean-sheet that they craved but were unable to break down the stubborn Baggies defence, and the Black Cats will need to inject some invention in their play if they are to extract themselves from the position they are in.

The next three games could prove to be crucial in deciding their fate, as a trip to Norwich is sandwiched by two home games against title-chasing Leicester City and Arsenal.

If The Stadium of Light is to host Premier League games next season, Sunderland must continue to show the defensive solidarity they showed against West Brom, whilst being more clinical in front of goal.

It will be a huge ask from a side who have scored 36 and conceded 55 in 31 games. 

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch