FABIO BORINI has hinted at some damaging dressing-room tensions by claiming the current Sunderland squad is “not as united” as the ones that staged successful survival bids in the last few seasons.
Borini scored a 90th-minute equaliser yesterday as Sunderland twice came from behind to claim a point against West Ham.
- How the Black Cats rated against West Ham
- Four talking points from Sunderland's draw against the Hammers
The Italian, who has been on the bench for the Black Cats’ last two games, made a point of sprinting to celebrate in front of the dug-outs, with his actions being widely interpreted as a reaction to manager David Moyes’ team selections.
However, it is his post-match comments that have caused the biggest stir, with Borini suggesting a divided dressing room is hampering Sunderland’s attempts to haul themselves away from the foot of the table.
The Italian was involved in the successful survival campaigns under Gus Poyet and Sam Allardyce, and feels the mood within the current camp is markedly different to the sense of togetherness and unity that was apparent in those two seasons.
“It’s harder than the previous time, I think,” said Borini. “We have not been at our level, we have probably not been as united a group as in previous seasons. That’s what probably has been the problem.
“But positive results and performances like today can bring that strength to the group and get everyone together because in our situation, we can only get out together, not individually.
“There has been a little bit of problems within the dressing room, but that’s for us to deal with it. The results, the injuries, that’s all part of being united and keep believing.”
Borini’s comments, which were made in a television interview with the BBC, are unlikely to have impressed Moyes, who was forced to listen to a series of chants calling for his head during the 2-2 draw.
The Italian was claiming only his second goal of the season as he drilled home in the final minute, and while he clearly feels aggrieved at his demotion to the substitutes’ bench, his performances for the majority of the season have hardly merited a guaranteed place in the side.
Unlike Wahbi Khazri, who has been frozen out of the first-team picture, Borini has had plenty of opportunities to prove his worth. Nevertheless, the striker clearly feels his previous achievements in a Sunderland shirt should count for something.
“Do I have a point to prove? No,” he said. “Because I train hard every day, and I even train extra at home with a personal PT (personal trainer) because I feel like I need more, and to feel 100 per cent, I need to do that. This is the moment to pay back.
“We did it last season us three up front – me, Wahbi and Jermain (Defoe) up front – we did well. Today, we just did what we are capable of. We didn’t have to prove anything because we know what we are.”