Speaking to the BBC, Robbin Ruiter has insisted that recent clean sheets are giving Sunderland confidence in the battle for survival in the Sky Bet Championship.
Sunderland are facing the possibility of back-to-back relegations, with the Black Cats making a disastrous start to life back in the second-tier, managing to pick up just two victories in 21 Championship fixtures.
That abysmal run of results saw Simon Grayson replaced by Chris Coleman at the Stadium of Light, with results slightly improving under the former Welsh national boss, who has picked up four points from four fixtures.
Key to their turnaround has been some improved defensive performances, with Ruiter keeping two clean sheets in his last four appearances under Coleman, one in the 2-0 victory over Burton Albion and another in last weekend’s goalless draw with league leaders, Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The 30-year-old has now revealed that the clean sheets are helping restore some confidence at the Stadium of Light, he said: “It gives the rest of the team confidence.
“We’ve had too many goals against this season. We all want to improve and we know for a defence and a goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet is the most important thing in football.
“If you can keep a clean sheet then we know we only need one goal to win the game.”
Sunderland remain 23rd in the Championship table heading into the festive period, having picked up 15 points from their opening 21 fixtures of the season.
Coleman’s side face a hectic end to 2017, featuring on four occasions in the next 18 days.
Sunderland have back-to-back home fixtures against Fulham and Birmingham City, before travelling to Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest before the turn of the year.
Coleman appears to have gone back to basics since his arrival at the Stadium of Light, with Sunderland looking a lot better defensively under his management.
Although there are still plenty of problems for Sunderland, last weekend’s stalemate with Wolves was a huge step in the right direction, with Coleman’s side now needing to build on that improved defensive performance.
Heading back to the Stadium of Light for back-to-back fixtures, Sunderland really need a victory.
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