Premier League

Sbragia support for Ferdinand

Black Cats boss gives defender backing ahead 'Survival Sunday'

Sbragia: Backing Ferdinand

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Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia is confident Anton Ferdinand has the 'belief' to recover from his gaffe against Portsmouth and help the club survive in the Premier League.

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The centre-back produced an embarrassing howler in Monday's 3-1 turnaround defeat at Fratton Park, allowing John Utaka to force Phil Bardsley to net at the wrong end as Pompey took the lead.

But ahead of 'Survival Sunday', Sbragia is backing Ferdinand to produce the neccesary performance against Chelsea at the Stadium of Light to help Sunderland away from trouble.

The Black Cats sit in 16th position in the table, but can guarantee safety with a win on the final day of the season and Sbragia expects Ferdinand to play a key role.

He said: "Anton has got enough belief in his game. He has made a mistake, it is as simple as that. But he can rectify it on Sunday.

Terrible mistake

"We have spoken about it and he understands he made a terrible mistake. We all make mistakes in life and unfortunately, he did it on the telly as well."

Sbragia feels luck has not always been on Sunderland's side, but he has been disappointed that when they have benefited from mistakes by other teams, they have not taken advantage in the same way Pompey did.

He said: "When you are down there, things don't seem to go too right for you.

"When it was 1-1, we had a little spell and maybe a couple of little half-chances before they scored. But if we make a mistake like that, we seem to always be punished.

"If it goes the other way, we seem to let teams off the hook, and that's something we need to do better with."