Sunderland boss believes this is best time to meet Norwich City

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet

SUNDERLAND could not be meeting Norwich City at a better time says Gus Poyet, who feels his players are in the perfect frame of mind for the relegation scrap.

The bottom-of-the-table Black Cats need to narrow the gap between themselves and the rest and Poyet is delighted by the fact his players will go into the game against one of their relegation rivals on the back of a morale-boosting cup win over Chelsea.

“I’m very positive ahead of this weekend’s game, because this is a great time for us to play against Norwich,” he told SportMail.

“The perfect moment to play this game was three days after beating Newcastle, three days after beating Man City – or now!

“We have just beaten Chelsea, delivered a good performance and reached the semi-finals of the cup, so I don’t think there is a better time.

Sunderland’s two previous league wins under Poyet – against Newcastle United in the Wear-Tyne derby in October and Manchester City in November – were followed by defeats, against Hull City and Stoke respectively.

But Sunderland boss Poyet believes this time will be different.

“Of course, the way we followed those two wins was very disappointing,” he said.

“One was a crazy game – scoring an own-goal and going down to nine men at Hull. It was not a typical game.

“And then after we beat Man City, the international break came before the game at Stoke – it wasn’t a good time for the break, because it killed our momentum.

“But I think now, playing Norwich four days after winning against Chelsea? It is perfect.

“There are no excuses.”

Although Keiren Westwood (shoulder) and Carlos Cuellar (hip) remain on the long-term injured list, the short-term problems of Steven Fletcher and Jack Colback have been successfully resolved.

Both are now fully recovered from viruses and are in full training.