Sam Allardyce tells his Sunderland players to complete great escape against Everton after impressive turnaround
English manager backs Sunderland to complete their latest escape act by beating Everton to guarantee their Premier League survival on Wednesday
Sam Allardyce has backed Sunderland to complete their latest escape act by beating Everton to guarantee their Premier League survival on Wednesday.
Allardyce’s side looked destined for relegation just a few weeks ago, but the Black Cats have clawed their way out of the bottom three with a run of one defeat in nine games and stand on the brink of relegating bitter rivals Newcastle along with Norwich.
Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Chelsea was a crucial turning point as Sunderland came from behind in dramatic fashion, while Newcastle and Norwich both dropped points.
Sunderland, who have narrowly stayed up in each of the last three years, are now one point above third bottom Newcastle and will be guaranteed a 10th successive season of top-flight football if they defeat Everton at the Stadium of Light.
“Our destiny is in our own hands. We have turned it around with a big victory,” Allardyce said.
“Obviously Newcastle drawing and Norwich losing has put us in a very good position. Now we must take full advantage of that position and try to finish it off on Wednesday.
“But we have still got to be very professional and very driven on Wednesday night to try to make sure that when we finish that game, we are safe.
“Hopefully we will not jangle our nerves any longer than we need to.”
Faced with the unpalatable prospect of watching Sunderland condemn them to second tier football for the first time since 2009-10, everyone connected with Newcastle will be hoping Everton do them a favour.
But Roberto Martinez’s men have won only one of their last nine games in all competitions and look content to let their season fizzle out as pressure mounts on their Spanish manager.
While Newcastle anxiously await their fate, second bottom Norwich, beaten in their last four matches, will be in action against Watford at Carrow Road.
Norwich, promoted via the play-offs last season, can do nothing to avoid an immediate return to the Championship if Sunderland win and Portugal defender Ivo Pinto concedes their situation looks bleak.
“With every game that is passing it is getting harder now to avoid relegation. But we have to keep ourselves up and we have to keep fighting in every game,” he said.
“We are going to have to win both of our remaining games and I think from the last couple of games, we have felt that need to start winning games.
“Wednesday we have one more opportunity that we cannot waste, so we must prepare for the game very well and work until then to get the three points that we need.”