JOZY ALTIDORE insists keeping Sunderland in the Premier League was more important to him than his own goal tally.
Altidore endured a miserable first season on Wearside after arriving in a £7million deal from Dutch side AZ Alkmaar last summer, with the American international netting a solitary top flight goal.
But the 24-year-old, the only player on Sunderland’s books likely to feature in next month’s World Cup, did play his part in the Black Cats’ survival - most notably winning the penalty in the 2-1 victory at Chelsea.
Altidore is philosophical about the campaign - stressing that it would have been meaningless if his goals return had been better, but Sunderland had been relegated.
“In the bigger picture, yeah, you could have scored 20 goals or something, that’d be great, and then we went down, and then what?” Altidore said.
“That’s the way I look at it, you have to look at the positives. Now it’s about getting into pre-season fit and having another go.
“The football we played in the last five games, I think, was the reason we stayed up.
“We created chances, we were a tough team to play against, and I think that’s what we have to do starting next season.”
Whether Altidore is still at the Stadium of Light at the start of next season is open to doubt.
Poyet has continued to support Altidore despite his troubles in front of goal, while the former Hull loanee himself insists he is happy to stay.
Sunderland would need to recoup the bulk of their investment in Altidore too if they were to let the striker leave this summer.
“I’m always a person that doesn’t give up easily,” added Altidore on ESPN.
“So, I’m looking forward to having the chance.
“And if not, if we come to the conclusion that’s not the best option and I go somewhere else, you know, so be it.
“As of right now my mind set is obviously on the World Cup, but as well as getting back to Sunderland and having a better season.”