Sunderland travel to Tottenham on Monday with both sides seeking to keep alive their seasons. Gus Poyet’s side require three points to prolong their chances of avoiding relegation, while Spurs know anything less than a win will surely spell the end for their Champions League aspirations.
Weekend results left Sunderland bottom of the Premier League, seven points from safety and, although they have three games in hand on those directly above, they have still to face five of the current top seven, starting at White Hart Lane tonight.
Manager Poyet is aware the club will have to pull off the unexpected. “It is possible,” he said. “Clubs in the past played five or six games at the end of the season against teams playing for nothing and won four or five. People say it’s a miracle, but it depends what the teams put on the pitch and what you do. It can happen.”
Victory for Tottenham would move them within five points of the final Champions League position with a favourable run-in, but with four defeats in their last six league games, morale is low.
The decision of Tim Sherwood to remain in the stands in recent matches – most notably the 4-0 defeat at Liverpool eight days ago – has angered fans, but the coach will be in the dugout tonight.
“I’ll be on the touchline – knocking out as many people as I can,” he joked. “I’ve had a lot of time to prepare. If they don’t know what it’s all about this week, then they ain’t going to know. I’ll be there at the forefront and hopefully we can get a positive result.”