Sunderland v West Brom: Gus Poyet warns that Premier League 'safety is not yet assured'
Sunderland have taken 10 points from a possible 12
Wednesday 07 May 2014
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet is refusing to take anything for granted after dragging his club to within touching distance of safety.
The Black Cats looked doomed just a few weeks ago when they slipped seven points adrift of 17th place in the Premier League, and few observers gave them any chance to avoiding the drop.
However, a return of 10 points from a possible 12 - from trips to Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United either side of a must-win home clash with Cardiff - has rekindled their hopes to such an extent that even a point against West Brom at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday night would almost certainly be enough to preserve their top-flight status.
But having seen Crystal Palace launch an astonish late fightback to deny title-contenders Liverpool victory on Monday evening, Poyet will leave nothing to chance.
Asked if he ever feared Sunderland had passed the point of no return, he said: "We are realistic - I have said that word here many, many times, 'realistic'. It was becoming more and more difficult.
"When you have got 10 games, you think, 'If we win four or five, we are going to be all right'. Then you have got six and you are still there - it's more difficult, no doubt.
"We hadn't won three game in a row in the whole season and we have done it now in style - Chelsea, at Old Trafford and at home against Cardiff when that was probably the biggest game of all.
"That's football, I suppose. Listen, after the game yesterday, I think we all agree that anything can happen at any time, so you need to be spot-on, especially in the Premier League.
"You need to be at an incredible level because even in other parts sometimes when a team goes 3-0 down, they think 'Let's lose 3-0 now, there's no chance we are going to get back'. But here, yes, you can come back.
"It was good that game for us, it was good. It was a little bit back to tension, back to tomorrow, to the end, to the last minute like we did at Old Trafford.
"One-nil or 2-0 or whatever score it is if you are lucky enough to be up, you need to really work hard to keep that result because it's a great opportunity."
Should Poyet complete the mission he was handed in October last year, he will head off on his summer break to enjoy a well-earned rest, although he admits there will still be hard work to be done before he can do that.
He said: "There are so many things to do, I don't know where I am going to start. But depending on Wednesday or Sunday, of course the first thing is the players.
"There are plenty of players who have been in a tricky situation without contracts, and they have been playing and they have been fighting and they have been suffering and playing with pain, and I think they deserve my first spare time, so that's going to be the first move.
"Then, I suppose, pre-season, and then a little bit of relaxation with the wife - she's going to kill me as well."
Latest in Sport
What time is the 2015 WWE Royal Rumble on? TV details and full card
Royal Rumble 2015: Roman Reigns triumphs after The Rock returns to set-up Wrestlemania showdown with Brock Lesnar
Brighton 2 Arsenal 3 player ratings: Did Tomas Rosicky's performance and goal make him man of the match at Amex Stadium?
Liverpool transfer news and rumours: Glen Johnson to stay; Fabian Delph move goes up in flames; Marc-Andre Ter Stegen for loan deal
Brighton vs Arsenal match report: Tomas Rosicky inspirational as Gunners avoid scare
- 1 Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 5 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally