Cattermole stunned by great escape

first_img But it was then that something remarkable happened: they remembered how to win football matches. Having been denied victory at Manchester City only by a late goalkeeping error, they defied the odds to beat both Chelsea and Manchester United on their own pitches to pave the way for a completely unexpected great escape which was sealed against the Baggies with a game to spare thanks to goals from Jack Colback and Fabio Borini. Cattermole, whose own form over that run of games proved inspirational, said: “When everyone is writing you off, it’s your job to go out and play. “We are all competitors and we don’t give in. That’s where we are as people and that’s probably why we have made it in the game. We have shown our character. “You can say all the cliches, but, ultimately, it came down to us playing some good football and sticking together.” Poyet celebrated on the pitch with his players after the final whistle, having completed the mission he was handed last October. A man who wears his heart on his sleeve, he admitted the enormity of the situation had got to him at times, and there was one overriding feeling as he and owner Ellis Short congratulated each other on an emotional evening on Wearside. Poyet said: “I think there was a little bit of relief for both, for him and for me.” The 46-year-old Uruguayan will prepare his players for Sunday’s final-day clash with Swansea knowing the pressure is off, and already turning his attention to preparations for the new campaign and the more immediate task of dealing with a host of out-of-contract players. By contrast, opposite number Pepe Mel will head into Sunday’s showdown with Stoke looking for a reaction after a poor first-half display in the north-east which left his side with a mountain to climb. West Brom are not yet mathematically safe, although Norwich would need them to lose to Stoke and beat Arsenal with an improbable swing in goal difference to overhaul them. It appears unlikely that out-of-contract Zoltan Gera will get his swansong in a Baggies shirt against the Potters, having failed to train since suffering a hamstring injury last month. Mel said: “Zoltan Gera has not trained with the team since his injury, so it really is very difficult, almost impossible, that he will play.” However, while Wearside is celebrating now, there is also an acknowledgement that the lessons of an eventful campaign must be learned. Cattermole said: “I think there will be a day in the summer when we wake up and think, ‘That was some achievement’. “It hasn’t sunk in yet, but, as lads, we have got to thank everyone who has had to deal with the whole season. “We have stuck together and come through it. We don’t know how, but the results have been absolutely incredible. There isn’t another word. “We have pulled it off and we have got to be looking at pushing the other end of the table next year. That’s what we have got to aim to do. “It was a bit too close for anyone’s liking. We have got to learn lessons from that and improve, because when you see nights like (Wednesday) night and the Cardiff game with the place full, it means a lot.” The fightback inspired by head coach Gus Poyet has been little short of miraculous. A 1-0 home defeat by Everton on April 12 left the Black Cats at the foot of the table and seven points adrift of safety with just six games remaining. Cattermole and his team-mates woke up on Thursday morning to the realisation that they will be playing Barclays Premier League football once again next season – something which looked a remote possibility just a few weeks ago. They will do so by virtue of a remarkable series of results which has seen them take seven points from a possible nine from trips to Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United, a maximum return from Cardiff’s visit to the Stadium of Light and Wednesday night’s 2-0 home victory over West Brom. Press Association Lee Cattermole is not quite sure how Sunderland managed to dig themselves out of relegation trouble. last_img read more

Men’s basketball team set for UW-Green Bay

first_imgMATTHEW KUTZ/Herald photoGreg Stiemsma will have a high school reunion of sorts tonight when the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team (5-1) takes the court against instate rival UW-Green Bay (2-4).The sophomore big man will get to play against his prep running mate Ryan Tillema, now a freshman forward for the Phoenix, who along with Stiemsma won three straight Division IV state titles at Randolph High School. Tillema added a fourth crown last season without Steimsma.”I probably know him better than anybody,” Stiemsma said. “It’s pretty weird to see a guy on the other team that I have been playing with since we were in fifth grade.”Such familiarity and renewals of rivalries are characteristic of this time of year, when Wisconsin goes on its quest to claim the unofficial state championship of basketball, as UW will play all three of the Dairy State’s other Division I programs — UW-Green Bay, UW-Milwaukee and Marquette. The Badgers play Marquette on Saturday before finishing up the Wisconsin series Dec. 15 against UW-Milwaukee.”It’s always good to play the schools in the state. You know everybody across the state gets to see everybody. I guess you can sort of see it as a state championship. It is going to be very competitive and each team wants to win to show they are the best team in Wisconsin,” junior guard Kammron Taylor said, adding that pundits can throw out the records with these in-state rivalries. “Even though [some Wisconsin teams’] record might say another thing, but once they come in here they are going to be ready to play.”Such is the case tonight, as the Phoenix will walk into the Kohl Center with a 2-4 record, trying to rebound from a 59-51 loss to Illinois State last Saturday. UW-GB has played Wisconsin tough in the past, however, and has hardly rolled over for Bo Ryan’s squad. One need look no further than last year’s closer-than-expected game, when the Badgers defeated the Phoenix 65-55 in Madison.”That was actually one of my worst games last year, and I just try to put that out of my head,” Taylor said.”[Green Bay has] some very good players. The future is bright with the group of guys they have coming through that program,” assistant coach Greg Gard said.UW-GB’s youth will be on display, as the team has no seniors and only three juniors this season. Their best player, however, could very well be Stiemsma’s former teammate Tillema, who is averaging 10.7 points per game and is shooting 50 percent (16-for-32) from beyond the three-point line.”He’s got a nice touch around the perimeter and he definitely can score,” Stiemsma said.Alongside Tillema will be junior guard Ryan Evanochko, who leads the team in both points (11.5 per game) and assists (3.83).If the Phoenix are to upset Wisconsin, however, they will need to up their offensive production, as they have thus far only averaged 58.7 points a contest, while the Badgers have averaged 85.0. Strangely, UW-Green Bay’s three-point shooting percentage (.423) is better then their overall shooting percentage (.372), meaning that getting out on the Phoenix perimeter shooters will be of premium importance.”They have some guys that you just can’t leave open,” Gard said. “If you give those guys those open looks, they have some guys that can really knock them down and hurt you.”Although the Badgers should enjoy a significant talent advantage, don’t be surprised to see another hotly contested matchup.”All those teams from the state have something to prove. They just want to prove that they can play at the top level,” junior Alando Tucker said. “Green Bay is a good team. They always play us physical and hard, and they want to prove they belong.”For Stiemsma and Tillema, like many of the other players during the in-state series, something even bigger is on the line: bragging rights.”There might be a little bit under the table, but nothing too big,” Stiemsma joked. “The loser will have to hear about it at least until next year.”last_img read more