Borini hoping rescue act will win him leading role in relegation fight
Fabio Borini has staked a claim for a leading role in Sunderland's latest survival mission after dragging them back from the brink of another defeat.
The £8million Italian smashed home a 90th-minute equaliser to secure a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace victory at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday evening, in the process pulling the club out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone on goal difference.
The 24-year-old's intervention came 10 minutes after he had climbed from the bench to replace injured fellow substitute Lee Cattermole and served manager Sam Allardyce with a timely reminder of his prowess in front of goal.
Borini said: "I got 10 minutes, I scored a goal. I showed that I can score goals and give a lift to the team, and what I do is give everything I have in me.
"Even if if it is 80 per cent of my physical abilities at that moment, I give 80 per cent; if it's 100, I give 100. At the moment, I have 150 per cent to give because we need everyone to give an extra bit to stay up.
"Probably 100 per cent is not enough, we need to give more."
Borini's stunning strike cancelled out the lead former Black Cat Connor Wickham had given the visitors with his second-half double following Dane N'Doye's deflected opener.
His celebration was as much borne out of frustration at not starting a game since February 2 as it was his elation, and he is hoping he has now given Allardyce something to think about.
He said: "It doesn't matter how frustrated I was before the game because every player, if they don't play as many minutes as they would like to, they get frustrated.
"But what I do is work hard every day in training and if I get 10 minutes, five minutes, 30 minutes, 90 minutes, it doesn't matter to me, I will give of my best, and the goal shows everyone what I can do.
"But it's the manager's decision, obviously. He gave me 10 minutes today and 10 minutes was enough."
Allardyce had targeted a minimum total of four points from games against West Ham, Palace and Southampton inside eight days, and Sunderland will head for the south coast - almost certainly without Cattermole, who suffered a cut and concussion in a clash of heads with Jordon Mutch - with just one banked and needing, in their manager's estimation, another 14 from their remaining 10 games to survive.
Borini said: "I don't care if it's good football or ugly football or lucky football, we need to win games and if we are 1-0 up at 60 minutes, we need to kill the game."
If Borini headed home with a smile on his face, former team-mate Wickham did not three days after scoring twice in a 3-2 defeat at West Brom.
He told Palace's official website, www.cpfc.co.uk: "I think, if anything, this one's more sore than West Brom. We can obviously take more positives from the game, [but] to concede so late on has hit us hard.
"We could have had three points, but we'll take one."