GUS Poyet says that the team which holds its nerve in the battle at the bottom has the best chance of Premier League survival this season.
The Black Cats’ boss takes his side to Carrow Road this weekend for a relegation six-pointer with fellow strugglers Norwich City.
And with game increasingly tense as the end of the season appears over the horizon, Poyet says the games are as much a test of mental strength, as physical skill.
“Every team is going to be trying just the same at the bottom and the one that panics the least has the best chance,” he said.
“It is the nervy teams who will be most vulnerable, so will look to play without fear - we will go to Norwich and play our game.
“We will respect them, we know what they can do and how strong they are at home.
“But we need to believe in ourselves and maintain a level of performance, and we need to be brave.”
Poyet expects an encounter every big as cagey this weekend as Sunderland’s game with Crystal Palace last weekend.
But he says he will be happy if Sunderland play as well against the Canaries as they did against the Eagles.
“One action can change the game and we have to remember that,” he said.
“People talk about Crystal Palace’s chance at the end of our game and that’s an example, although I think that’s unfair because we dominated the game throughout.
“If they had won, it would have gone against football.
“And all I can ask of my players is that they dominate that much every game.
“Sometimes things go against you in football but generally, if you dominate a game, you do not go too far wrong.”