Tony Mowbray hails Sunderland’s ‘miraculous’ journey to the Championship play-offs

Tony Mowbray hailed Sunderland’s last-day rise into the play-offs as ‘miraculous’, with the Black Cats overcoming a season littered with obstacles. Goals from Amad, Alex Pritchard, and Jack Clarke gave the Black Cats a 3-0 win over Preston at Deepdale, but that still left them reliant on results elsewhere.

They needed either Middlesbrough to beat Coventry City, or for Millwall to drop points at home to Blackburn Rovers – and while Boro and Coventry drew 1-1, Mowbray’s former club Blackburn came from 3-1 down to win 4-3 at The Den. It meant Sunderland finished sixth in their first season back in the Championship and they will now face Luton Town in the play-off semi-finals.

But to reach this point, Mowbray and his team have had to overcome horrendous injury problems that have dogged them all season, leaving them to play more than half the season without a centre-forward, and to face the run-in without a centre-back. Yet they have defied the odds, and Mowbray said: “I didn’t really want to hear that somebody was winning or losing [elsewhere].

READ MORE: Sunderland suffer fresh injury blows ahead of play-offs after securing top six finish

“It was just a case of winning our game, then what was going to be was going to be. But we’re there now. Miraculously, we’ve done it. I’m not saying that we’ve warranted it because there are some big clubs in this league, and if you’re Blackburn or Millwall, I’m sure you’re devastated.

“But hopefully we’ve got a bit of momentum and hopefully we’ll have some choices in terms of the selection of the team. It’s nine games now since we’ve been beaten, so we’re going in with some real momentum. Let’s see how it goes.”

Mowbray felt that his side could get the win they needed at Preston, and said as much after last weekend’s 2-2 draw against Watford at the Stadium of Light, but it was a question of whether one of those other results would also go in their favour. Mowbray said: “I genuinely believed we could win here.

“With total respect to Preston, who have sorted out their home record, I thought we could win. If you think of us going away and winning at Norwich and West Brom, then we’ve been pretty good away from home.

“I always felt that we could come here and control the game. I always believe that we’ve got attacking players at the top end of the pitch that are really talented footballers. If we can get the ball to them around the edge of the box, then they can score.”


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