Survival a perfect silver lining for Black Cats, admits Poyet

Gus Poyet admits it will feel like he has guided Sunderland to a trophy if they manage to complete their great escape.

Survival a perfect silver lining for Black Cats, admits Poyet

The Black Cats will be guaranteed another season of Premier League football if they beat West Brom at the Stadium of Light tonight (7.45pm), and even a point is likely to be enough to keep them up, regardless of what Norwich do against Arsenal on Sunday, because of their superior goal difference.

For head coach Poyet, who took over in October last year with his side having collected just a single point from their first seven league fixtures, it would represent a major achievement.

Asked if it would feel like winning something, the 46-year-old Uruguayan said: “Nearly, yes, it’s a good shout. Probably. Normally you don’t celebrate when you finish 16th or 15th in the league. We will. It’s true, we will.”

Sunderland would effectively have been safe on Sunday had Norwich not managed to hold Chelsea to a surprise draw, and while Poyet would have been delighted to accept that, he is relishing the opportunity for his players to seal their fate in front of their own fans against either the Baggies or Swansea on Sunday.

He said: “It is not the same at home on your own watching TV and somebody else gets a result.

“You don’t know how to celebrate then on your own. When you are in a group together playing for something and winning a game — I hope we can win tomorrow and go on and finish the game and be all together.

“Yes, it’s different — but it would take it anyway, I would take any kind of situation.

“But now the idea is we have got a big opportunity tomorrow.

“I don’t want to go ahead of the weekend because that could be really tense, for sure.”

Meanwhile, West Brom head coach Pepe Mel has vowed to fight his corner ahead of next week’s talks with chairman Jeremy Peace.

Following his arrival in early January as successor to the sacked Steve Clarke, Mel has upheld his side of the bargain by keeping the Baggies in the Premier League — barring the most astonishing sequence of results.

Whether Mel has done enough to convince them he deserves a new deal remains to be seen, especially given the rumours of unrest behind the scenes.

But then whatever Peace says when it comes to cash for the summer and the club’s transfer policy may not be music to the ears of Mel, who signed an initial 18-month deal with a break clause inserted after the first six.

With talks planned for next Monday, Mel said: “When a manager comes in mid-season, it means a club is having some difficulties.

“The most important thing from my tenure here was to get the team out of trouble. So my ambition, when I first came here, was that come the 12th of May, West Brom would be in the Premier League, so I have achieved my maximum ambition.

“Now I have a different ambition. What I want to carry on is (for the club) to keep on improving. That’s how I want to move forward in the future. Now I need to listen to what the chairman has to say. I want to know what he has in mind for the future of this club, what are his plans.

“But I also want you to understand I’m an ambitious person and I want to be able to put forward my own arguments to take this club forward.”

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