Sunderland vs Swansea City preview - Cattermole's not a 12th man

Posted Saturday, May 10, 2014 by PA

Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole has set his sights on finishing 12th in the Barclays Premier League - even though it would flatter the club.

The Black Cats secured their top-flight status with a game to spare and leapt to the dizzy heights of 14th place when they defeated West Brom 2-0 at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday evening.

But should they follow that up with a final-day victory over Swansea and West Ham fail to beat title favourites Manchester City, Gus Poyet's men will end the season in 12th.

However, while Cattermole would happily take that, he is not so sure it would be a fair reflection of a campaign which has lurched from peak to trough throughout.

The 26-year-old said: "I think finishing 12th would be a bit of a false position, really.

"From where we have been, I wouldn't say 12th is where we should be finishing.

"We need to be realistic and realise how close we have come [to relegation] and what we have done to be in the position we are in.

"I would have taken a point from the last two games and finished 17th."

Sunderland are where they are because of a remarkable run which has seen them win their last four games and take 13 points from a possible 15 just when they needed them most.

More pertinently, that haul has been gathered from trips to Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United and home games against Cardiff and the Baggies, a fact which makes their earlier problems all the more baffling.

The Stadium of Light will be packed once again on Sunday to acclaim a monumental effort, although amid the celebrations and the memories of a Capital Cup final trip to Wembley, a derby double and victories at Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford, there will be a realisation that the failings which accompanied them must be addressed.

Cattermole said: "We have got to look to improve and start next season how we have finished this season.

"It's nice when things are going well because people look for all the good points.

"But there have been a lot of bad times when things haven't gone well and we have played well in games, but haven't got that goal.

"I remember Crystal Palace, Norwich and Aston Villa at home when we dominated, but couldn't get in front.

"We haven't had a player who has scored 15 or 20 goals, and that makes such a big difference.

"Connor [Wickham] has been great, but we need that from the start of the season. That's one thing we have lacked all season."

Cattermole is one of a series of players feeling the after-effects of their recent heroics and was left nursing an ankle problem after the West Brom game, although he is expected to be fit if required as Poyet considers a series of changes.

Meanwhile, Garry Monk readily admits he has realised a dream after being handed the permanent manager's job at Swansea.

But the former Swans captain also accepts the hard work starts now as he takes on a role previously filled by the likes of Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers and latterly Michael Laudrup.

Swansea complete their campaign with Monk having masterminded a successful climb away from relegation trouble after replacing Laudrup in a head-coaching capacity four months ago.

But there will be no respite for the 35-year-old as he assesses his playing resources during what is set to be a hectic summer and pre-season.

"It was a dream of mine and an aim," he said.

"I thought it would come further down the line, but it is what it is. Now it's my time to take this chance.

"I am under no illusions how hard it will be and that I will be judged every single day, but I am willing to do that. It doesn't faze me.

"I know what I want to do, and if I do it to the best of my ability I will be happy with that."

Monk is also happy for Swansea to continue disproving their Premier League doubters after once again preserving top-flight status.

"People doubt us every season, and we have proven people wrong. We have got a point to prove," he added.

"It's a time when we don't have a point to prove and we become complacent that we might have a problem. But the difficult season it has been with all the changes, and myself being appointed, means some will say I can't do it.

"So I have got a point to prove. But I will look at it and I will be judged on the games we play."

The Swans are set to be without injured pair Michu and Angel Rangel for the clash.

But defender Chico Flores, who has been absent through suspension and then injury in recent games, could return.

Attention: Third parties may advertise their products and/or services on our website.7M does not warrant the accuracy, adequacy or completeness of their contents.
Your dealings with such third parties are solely between you and such third parties and we shall not be liable in any way for any loss or damage of any sort incurred by you.