David Moyes admits Sunderland’s season has reached “desperation” point as he attempts to fight fires both on and off the field.
At the end of a week which saw Moyes apologise to BBC reporter Vicki Sparks after intimating he might “slap” her having taken exception to a question she had asked, the Scot will send the beleaguered Black Cats into battle with Manchester United knowing the writing is all but on the wall.
Sunderland find themselves 10 points adrift of Premier League safety with just eight games left and know they will be relegated if they do not embark upon the kind of remarkable run which has saved them in the recent past.
Moyes said: “Look, we’re not kidding on, we’re getting close to desperation.
“We have to win. I have been saying that for the last… I was probably saying it before Christmas time.
“In fact, I’ve been saying it since probably day one of the season if you want to be truthful, that we had to win.
“I don’t think my message has changed from then to what it is now, that we have to try to win the games.
“We are certainly not giving up. We have got chances. The club has done it (in the past). If we won the remaining games, we would stay up.
“That’s the answer, win the remaining games.”
Moyes and his players have watched videos of the club’s remarkable great escapes in the search for inspiration, with the manager insisting the furore which surrounded his exchange with Sparks – he has until Monday to respond to a Football Association request for his observations on the incident – has not been a distraction.
He said: “It’s been a busy week because of the games. The other situation is now gone and in the past and I have moved on.
“Nothing would ever get in the way of my preparations as a manager or as a coach. I’m incredibly focused on my job and that’s the way it will always remain.”