Sunderland face Aston Villa at the Stadium of Light in the Championship on Tuesday night, in dire need of a positive result. The reverse fixture in November was manager Chris Coleman's first game in charge of the Black Cats; a game which the club lost 2-1 at Villa Park.
Coleman inherited an injury struck side, with ten players unavailable when Sunderland visited Villa Park in November.
Although were beaten, Coleman had already set a standard for how he wanted his side to perform at. The former Wales manager adapted more attacking style of play, opting to deploy a more possession based footballing philosophy.
Coleman looked to be building something at Sunderland, reports Gazette, but a recent bad run of form has left the North East side bottom of the table. Having won only once and suffering six defeats in their last ten league fixtures, things are looking bleak for the Welsh coach's side.
The Sunderland boss also had a poor January transfer window, in which he struggled to add to his side, while key figures departed the club.
Chris Coleman: “Lewis Grabban didn’t tell me he wanted to leave. He cancelled his accommodation and then told the Chief Executive. He had a clause in his loan, so we knew what was going to happen.” Grabban returns to Sunderland with Villa tomorrow night. #SAFC— Keith Downie (@SkySports_Keith) March 5, 2018
“I think that ideally we wouldn’t be where we are, I’d hoped that it would be slightly different in terms of building a team and adding to it in January. That was a very tough four weeks for us,” said the former Welsh international.
Despite Sunderland's inconsistency, Coleman remains hopeful that his side can climb out of the the bottom three.
“We’ve shown some good signs and then shot ourselves in the foot, not backed results up. We’ve not done that all season. That’s what I still hold onto, what it would do to the whole place if we did that.
“If we win back-to-back the chances are we will get out of the bottom three and that would be such a boost," claimed the Black Cats boss.
“From Aston Villa away to now, [it's been a] bumpy ride, uncomfortable, stressful, all of that, but I still think we’ve got a lot to say and I still think we can get to that magic position of being away from the bottom three."
Although Chris Coleman believes his side can turn it around, he admits that there is the realisation that the North East side could find themselves dropping down to League One.
“That’s what hangs around your neck. The thought of not being in the Premier League was bad enough, the thought of being in League One, a club of this size, that hangs over you every time you go on to the training pitch, every time you go on to the pitch," revealed Coleman.
The 47-year-old would like his side to use that fear as a motivational tool to drive them on to climb their way out of danger.
“We’ve not yet used that in a positive way. We’ll do that if we win a couple of games, because then it will start bubbling and it is fantastic," he said.
“Then if we can get out the bottom three, that can be the catalyst for us. That’s how I see it, easier said than done of course.”
The Sunderland boss has a bigger group of players to choose from this time around, as his side prepares to face third placed Aston Villa. They have a tough task ahead of them, but Coleman needs this Sunderland team to start their revival as soon as possible.
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