Sunderland 4 Cardiff City 0: Gus Poyet challenges Connor Wickham to write his name into Black Cats folklore and lead Sunderland to safety

Striker has scored five goals in three games to lift Sunderland out of the relegation zone

Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet urged striker Connor Wickham to write his name in Wearside folklore.

The 21-year-old claimed a double as the Black Cats lifted themselves out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone with a 4-0 victory over Cardiff to take his tally since his return from a loan spell at Leeds to five goals in three games.

His efforts to date have helped Poyet's men to claim a draw at Manchester City and wins over Chelsea and the Bluebirds which have revitalised a season which looked to be spinning out of control.

It has been a remarkable turn-around for a man who previously had failed to make an impact an first-team level following his £8.1million switch from Ipswich in June 2011.

 

Asked if he had ever seen a player return from a loan spell to such effect, Poyet admitted: "No, I haven't, but I can tell you that I was hoping for that, that was the idea.

"Connor needed a run of games. I'm sure that in football, there are plenty of players who would like to come and see the manager and say, 'Come on, give me five games'.

"It's not that easy. But because of everything that has happened during the season, I was in a position where I was able to say, 'Go on, play from here and then it's up to you. It's not me, it's you'.

"He is changing our season around and if he if he maintains the level, he could be up there as one of the most remembered players at Sunderland, which would be great for him for the future."

Wickham headed the Black Cats into a 26th-minute lead and was then at the centre of the incident which swung the game firmly in his side's favour.

He capitalised on defender Juan Cala's error to run in on goal, only to be dragged back by the Spaniard, although referee Phil Dowd allowed play to continue before going back to the original incident and awarding a penalty and a red card.

Poyet said: "It's the best decision I have ever seen from a referee in my life, it's as simple as that.

"If we really want to stop players going down easily, this is the way, so all the credit to Phil today because he did what we all wanted, but it was for some reason not possible."

Fabio Borini converted the penalty and second-half goals from substitute Emanuele Giaccherini and Wickham wrapped up Sunderland's biggest league win since March 2010 and eased them into 17th place on goal difference.

Cardiff replaced them at the foot of the table, but manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is convinced they can still rescue themselves.

He said: "Yes, definitely. Two wins, that's what we at least thought needed before today, and we have got to go to Newcastle next week and try to win that one.

"You have got characters there. You could see them out there, still at 4-0 down, they don't give up, they don't sulk, they don't stop doing their best and that's what we have got to do for the next two weeks."

PA

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm actor was just 68
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices