Sbragia unfazed by rivals
Ricky Sbragia is not focusing on the teams around him despite the close nature of the Premier League.
By Richard Bailey
Last Updated: 10/02/09 5:03pm
Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia is not focusing on the teams around him despite the close nature of the Premier League.
The Black Cats moved seven points away from the relegation zone and up to 11th with their 2-0 over Stoke at the weekend.
But with just eight points between bottom of the table West Brom and Fulham in 10th, two bad results for Sbragia's side could see them back in trouble.
With trips to Arsenal and Liverpool to come in their next league fixtures that is a very real possibility, but their manager insists he does not worry about the teams around them.
"The idea is to try and get up that table," he said.
"I'm not really concerned about who the other teams are playing. I just have to concern myself with us.
"I couldn't have told you who most of the other teams were playing on Saturday. I don't look at it.
"It doesn't concern me, I can't have any affect on that. But I know what we can do against teams we have to play.
"We knew on Saturday, and we told the players before the game, of the importance of the game. It was important to get the three points."
Despite going unbeaten in the league for three games Sunderland have not really impressed during that time but Sbragia admits results matter much more than performances.
"Whether we played well or badly, I was not that concerned as long as we got the three points," he added.
"I have said many a time at home, we have go to start picking up points and getting wins especially and try to pick something up away from home.
"In general, we are getting a little bit more difficult to beat. It's important to beat the teams around us.
"I know we have got two really difficult games now, but in general, if we had six points, I would have been happy, but seven points, and we have got an unbeaten record as well."
More good news for Sunderland is the fact that defender Nyron Nosworthy returned to training after tearing his hamstring, causing him to miss the last five games.
Also back in training is midfielder Teemu Tainio after recovering from a knee injury. The former Spurs man withdrew from the Finland squad this week as a precaution.
"He's (Nosworthy) doing some light work and he could be rejoining us next week, so we're pleased with that one," Sbragia explained.
"We have to be careful with Teemu, he did not want to risk it."