CRAIG Gardner says Sunderland believe December 2012 can be as fruitful for them as the previous year’s was.
It started badly, with a 2-1 defeat at Norwich City, but a much-improved second-half performance, inspired by Gardner’s long-range goal shortly before the interval, has given the midfielder confidence history can repeat itself.
Sunderland lost their first game of last December, at Wolverhampton Wanderers a year ago today, leaving them a point and a place above the relegation zone, as they are now.
However, Martin O’Neill’s appointment the following day sparked a remarkable revival which continued into March. “We haven’t moved forward in the last year but we have a chance to pick it up over the Christmas period,” Gardner reflected.
“There area lot of games and I feel like we can really push on and so do all the other players.
“Maybe the more games we play the more points we get and hopefully I’m right.
“If you lose a game, you need to pick the positives out of the game to move on.
“There’s no point dwelling or sulking for three or four games. The positive (from Sunday’s game at Norwich) is how we played (in the) second half. I know it’s frustrating for the fans and it’s frustrating for us too. I know they work hard to come and see us play and we want to give them a bit of joy and hopefully that joy will come soon.”
A failure to take chances in front of goal has been Sunderland’s biggest problem this season and even when they belatedly found their feet at Carrow Road goals again eluded them.
Gardner had a shot cleared off the line and another against the post – Matthew Kilgallon ballooned the rebound over – and substitute Connor Wickham was denied a hat-trick by two excellent defensive interceptions and his inability to stay onside.