Cattermole calls for calm

The 23-year-old midfielder and his team-mates head for Arsenal on

Sunday sitting in 16th place in the Premier League table and with

the furore over their plight having been quelled only slightly by

the fightback in the 2-2 home draw with West Brom before the

international break. Indeed, the Black Cats have won only one of

their seven league games to date and collected just six points in

the process. Add to that the bitter disappointment of derby defeat

on their own park at the hands of arch-rivals Newcastle, a club

widely perceived to be once again in disarray before a ball had

been kicked, and the ugly mood on Wearside is perhaps

understandable. Manager Steve Bruce, whose critics have been in

good voice in recent weeks, has hit out at the “hysteria”, and

Cattermole insists a more measured approach is necessary. He said:

“If we had beaten Norwich away, we would have been back up to

seventh, eighth. Two wins in the Premier League – I know it’s hard

to do that, but if you get two back-to-back wins, it can soon

change. “It’s all so close at the minute and we really shouldn’t be

reading too much into leagues. We should be focussing on the team

and how we are playing as a unit. “At the minute, we just need to

start keeping more clean sheets, and that starts from the top as a

team. “We need to work a bit harder and have a better shape and

concede fewer goals, and that will give us a chance of winning some

games.” The disquiet among the Red and White faithful perhaps stems

from the wholesale changes Bruce made during the summer in an

effort to drag the club on to the next level. Last season’s top-10

finish fulfilled the club’s target, and the addition on 10 new

signings – 11 if the conversion of Ahmed Elmohamady’s loan move

into a permanent deal is taken into account – represented something

of a watershed. However, Bruce’s unwillingness to throw all his new

boys in together, coupled with Asamoah Gyan’s untimely exit for the

United Arab Emirates, Phil Bardsley’s four-match ban and the police

investigation into Titus Bramble’s alleged off-field behaviour have

served as unwelcome distractions. The manager is adamant there have

been positives and that only time will reveal the wisdom or

otherwise of his latest recruitment drive, and again, Cattermole

concurs. He said: “We have brought nine, 10 new players here and

it’s not going to happen overnight, but I think you can see the

base of the team is good and we will hopefully progress from there.

“But at this time of the season, it’s hard with all the

international breaks. You are playing two and three breaks and then

an international, then two or three games and another break.

“Players aren’t getting back for 10, 12 days and it’s really hard,

especially with the new players we have got in. “We have got two

big games now, away to Arsenal and away to Bolton, who are both

struggling as well, so hopefully we can go there and counter that

and come away with some points and turn our season around. “That’s

what we have got to do.” Cattermole has had his own crosses to bear

this season and found himself sitting on the bench for the 4-0

victory over Stoke on September 18 after a series of, by his

standards, below-par displays. Being dropped was hard to swallow,

but the midfielder took it on the chin and was much improved in the

2-2 draw with the Baggies last time out. He said: “I play a lot of

golf and if you look at golfers, you can’t be good in every round.

“If you have got people waiting to step in, they are going to get

their chance, and it is up to you to just keep working hard and

bounce back, and that’s what I’m going to do.”