Much Improved: Keane Reinstalls Belief on Wearside

Daniel ChesterCorrespondent IJanuary 13, 2008

This time last week I felt the club had massively let the fans down by producing an absolutely disgusting display against a somewhat threadbare Wigan side and being knocked out of the FA Cup, in my opinion, with no real ambition to stay in the competition.

A week later the team was very much changed for an important league game where three points were a must and a good showing vital due to the live television status and prospective signings on the horizon.

The result was all the sweeter after watching Newcastle capitulate to a 6-0 loss at Old Trafford in pitiful fashion.

The team produced a fantastic display at home to away specialists Portsmouth. From the start every man looked up for the game—from Craig Gordon to Kenwyne Jones, from defense to attack, the players looked like they really were ready for a battle and the 2-0 scoreline could and should of been a lot more. Everyone at home watching on Sky and everyone in the stadium with myself knew that the players were all fulfilling there potential finally and only a handful of awful refereeing decisions spoiled the flow of a fantastic team performance

Fair enough Pompey lost four vital players in Sulley Muntari, John Utaka, Papa Bouba Diop and Nwankwo Kanu but the Sunderland performance could of overhauled anyone and there shear effort and determination was there for all to see. The players just looked far more up for it and the crowd responded by producing the kind of atmosphere that belongs at an at least top half side.

If Sunderland produce performances like this every week then there is no chance they will be relegated and will surely be pushing into mid-table. There upcoming home games are vital and three points from each of the next three home games will see the side push well away from the relegation zone. Next week they face a tough away trip to Tottenham and personally I don't expect anything from that, but how things can change in the space of a week, I didn't slate the team I did stay in support of them and that support has paid off.

Surely this performance will attract the type of players that Sunderland need and that bit of extra quality to get them away from the sides that they know they are better than.