The Black Cats boss reveals he was afraid his side would join Aston Villa in surrendering without fight to relegation.
Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has revealed that at one stage before the turn of the year he was afraid that his side would succumb to the same hopeless fate as Premier League bottom side Aston Villa, as quoted by the Sunderland Echo.
The Black Cats lost all five of their league matches in December, scoring just three goals in the process and leaving them seven points adrift of safety with just two wins from their first 19 matches.
However, since then Allardyce, who took over from Dick Advocaat on 9 October, has led his side to a run which has seen them lose just three of their 12 league fixtures in 2016, a run which was coincidentally started with a 3-1 victory over Villa at the Stadium of Light on 2 January.
Although there is still a very real threat of relegation hanging over Sunderland, Allardyce admitted his pleasure at seeing his side make a real fight of it at the bottom to allay his fears of three months ago that they would join Villa in going down silently.
The 61-year-old said, as quoted by the Sunderland Echo: "If you watched us in December and saw some of our performances, you would think we’d be down there with Villa now.
"When we were 3-0 down against Chelsea you would have thought we’d never get anywhere near getting out of trouble.
"[However] we should be out of trouble now with the performances we have produced, but we are not, so I just hope that bit of fortune starts going our way very very quickly. We need a bit of luck and a bit more clear-cut finishing on top of how we are playing."
Sunderland's relative revival has been partly sparked by Allaedyce's business in the January transfer window, during which he reinforced his side's defensive game with the additions of Jan Kirchhoff and Lamine Kone as well as adding attacker Wahbi Khazri.
However, the Wearsiders' failure to break down a stubborn West Bromwich Albion side in 0-0 draw at the Stadium of Light on Saturday will have come as a real blow to the manager as another game without a win ticks by.
That stalemate left the Black Cats four points adrift of safety after Norwich City's last-gasp win over fellow strugglers Newcastle United, although Sunderland hold a game in hand over the Canaries.