SUNDERLAND’S trip to Tottenham on Monday night will be the first of eight ‘cup finals’ the Black Cats have to save their season. Having been defeated at home by West Ham last Monday, the club’s Premier League status looks to be in serious jeopardy given the run of games they face up until the final day of the season on May 11th.
With fixtures to come against Spurs, Everton, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United in the final few weeks, manager Gustavo Poyet should remain optimistic that they can gain enough points to survive, but do so in the knowledge that the task is a daunting and extremely tough one.
One would assume that Sunderland will need to win the remaining games against Cardiff City, West Brom and Swansea to have any chance of avoiding the drop, but even then it may still be too late if they don’t take some points from the Premier League’s big boys.
If relegation becomes a reality for Sunderland, the club should refrain from parting ways with Poyet. Having taken over from Paolo Di Canio in October last year when Sunderland were rock bottom of the league, the Uruguayan has done well in the very tough job of galvanising a team of downtrodden players.
His finest moments came in an historic League Cup run in which his side led Manchester City in the final after knocking out both Chelsea and Manchester United on their way to Wembley, only to see the mega rich title contenders turn the game around and run out 3-1 winners.
Sunderland’s against-the-odds success in the Capital One Cup should be enough for the board to give Poyet the benefit of the doubt and stick with him beyond this campaign if it does end up turning pear shaped. Poyet has not been given time to shape a squad of his own and deserves the chance to do so in order to try and bounce back up to the Premier League at the first attempt.
If Poyet can pull off a minor miracle and keep the team in the division then his job will undoubtedly be safe, but considering he is a man who already has experience in England’s second tier with Brighton and Hove Albion, Poyet would be well suited to the different challenge.
•This article was written by FTBpro’s Scott Saunders
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