Sunderland's Patrick van Aanholt says side only need to focus on themselves

Sunderland Gates

The Sunderland left-back points to the Black Cats' fate being in their own hands.

Sunderland left-back Patrick van Aanholt has said the side just have to focus on themselves in the battle to avoid relegation, after slipping into the bottom three at the weekend.

Newcastle's win over Crystal Palace meant they overtook Sunderland by a point following the Black Cats' 1-1 draw with Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.

Sunderland, however, do have a game in hand on their opponents meaning that their destiny is still in their own hands, something their left-back emphasises.

Van Aanholt is quoted in the Chronicle, saying: “We had the same mentality as we’ve had in previous weeks. We got the point in the end which is fine because it’s still in our hands.

“We’ve still got a game in hand on Newcastle, so we just have to focus on ourselves. We just have to focus on getting the three points against Chelsea.

“Chelsea haven’t had the best season, but I’m sure they will be back next season and be challenging at the top of the league."

The problem is, Sunderland probably do not know exactly which Chelsea will turn up, as they have shown the odd flicker of form that led to them comfortably winning the Premier League title last season, but they still show the odd trait of the disastrous form that means they have produced one of the worst title defences for quite some time.

Guus Hiddink will be keen for Chelsea to finish strongly during his final games as interim manager, but other than that there is nothng for them to play for, and that is something that Sunderland will no doubt be looking to exploit.

As for Sunderland's performances, they have been pretty good of late yet they do not seem to be getting the results they want. They need to turn the cluster of draws they have picked up of late into wins, and they cannot take any game for granted.

What they will want to do is to ensure that going into their match against Everton - their game in hand before the final round of fixtures - is that either a win or draw against the Toffees would leave them in pole position to secure their safety on the final day.

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