Pressure at both ends of table - Sam Allardyce
Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce insists he is under as much pressure as Manchester City counterpart Manuel Pellegrini, if for vastly different reasons.
The two men will be in direct competition at the Etihad Stadium on Boxing Day with Allardyce desperately trying to drag the Black Cats out of yet another scrap for Barclays Premier League survival while for Pellegrini, only silverware and Champions League progression count.
Sunderland currently sit in 19th place in the table having collected 12 points from their opening 17 games, five adrift of derby rivals Newcastle in 17th, while City's 3-1 defeat at Arsenal on Monday evening left them six points shy of surprise leaders Leicester and four worse off than the second-placed Gunners.
Allardyce said: "They are two different pressures, two totally different pressures, but all meaning the same thing. We have to get results to stay in the league and they have to get results to stay at the top of the league.
"We are faced with the types of pressures that come with being talked about as relegation candidates week in and week out, about people being dissatisfied with our performances, which if you lose football matches, is going to happen.
"You have got to start winning football matches. [Chelsea boss] Jose's [Mourinho] dismissal is a testament to that, isn't it? It's all about winning and at the top end for Manchester City, it's all about them realising their expectations.
"He [Pellegrini] has to either win the league or he has to get further in the Champions League than he's ever done before, or he certainly has to win one of the trophies. He's got to come back with some silverware or the championship.
"That's the pressure at that end, which means you can barely lose more than five to seven games."
Allardyce, who will be without key defender Younes Kaboul through injury, has presided over nine games since replacing Dick Advocaat and has recorded three victories and six defeats, a return which has left him short of where he had hoped to be at this stage.
He said: "I would have expected to be better off than we are now. I would have expected us to have at least 15 points or more by this stage.
"We would have been ahead of ourselves a couple of weeks ago when we got back-to-back wins and we got three wins out of six, but now we have slipped back again to being under where I would have liked us to have been on the basis that we have lost too many games instead of drawing a few."