LEE CATTERMOLE believes Sunderland must target three victories from the final week of the season, rather than setting themselves a points target for Premier League survival.
Last weekend’s victory against fellow strugglers Cardiff City put Sunderland in pole position to beat the drop after Gus Poyet’s side moved out of the relegation zone with a superior goal difference and a game in hand on each of the bottom three.
Six points from the last three games campaign will essentially confirm Sunderland’s Premier League status, due to their goal difference advantage of 12 over third-bottom Norwich City.
But Cattermole realises it’s a dangerous business to be setting an exact survival tally, with the midfielder simply eager to continue Sunderland’s two-game winning streak – starting with Saturday’s trip to reigning Premier League champions Manchester United.
Cattermole told the Echo: “A few games ago, we were looking to get 10 points.
“After the last three games, we’re three points away from that now.
“Another win might be enough, but we have to look to win every game.
“I know the next game is Man United, but we’ve done well away from home all season.
“For what’s at stake for us, I think we’re as committed as anyone at the minute.
“Whether that’s against Man United under a new manager or Cardiff, we’ve got to match everyone in every department.”
Sunderland can boast happy memories of Old Trafford after January’s penalty shoot-out victory there in the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg.
Saturday’s match has an entirely different complexion, though, after caretaker United boss Ryan Giggs began his reign with a 4-0 victory over Norwich last weekend.
But after Sunderland have taken four points from Manchester City and Chelsea over the last fortnight, Cattermole insists there is no fear in the Black Cats dressing room at what lies in store at Old Trafford.
“They’re obviously going to get a boost from the change in manager,” added the 26-year-old, who made his 100th Premier League appearance for Sunderland against Cardiff.
“But we’re confident in the performances we’re producing ourselves.
“Man City and Chelsea are going for the title, but we’re fighting for our lives and we’ve given them both a great game.
“We’ve proven in the cup games, and the games in the league, that we can match the big teams.
“It might be the way we set up or the players we’ve got – we don’t know what it is – but we do well against them.
“It’s just keeping getting that performance out of each of us.”