EX-HULL loanee Jozy Altidore says Sunderland must treat tomorrow’s clash with the Tigers as another “cup final”.
The Black Cats secured back-to-back Premier League victories for the first time this season in last weekend’s 3-0 derby rout at Newcastle United to move up to 14th spot in the table – their highest position of the campaign.
But with daunting trips to Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool following tomorrow’s visit of fellow strugglers Hull City, the pressure is on Sunderland to make it three-in-a-row in ex-boss Steve Bruce’s return to the Stadium of Light.
Striker Altidore insists there is no complacency in the Sunderland camp though after their derby euphoria, with the Black Cats well aware of the importance of extending the two-point gap with the relegation zone.
Altidore said: “We’ve got a huge chance to get three wins in a row against Hull.
“The important thing is to look at Hull as we’ve looked at the last few games – like a cup final.
“Every game is a big one and we need to have that mentality because we have the quality to separate us from them.
“It was a great time to get back-to-back league wins, especially when a lot of fixtures are coming up against the bigger clubs.
“It’s good to get our points now.
“We have to keep working hard and to challenge ourselves to move up the table. We have to keep working in training.”
Victory on Tyneside capped a remarkable 10 days for Sunderland after securing their place in the Capital One Cup final and earning a crucial win over relegation scrap peers Stoke City.
And Altidore admits it has been beneficial to take stock of that progress on the training ground this week, without Poyet’s men facing the drain of another midweek encounter.
“There’s been games every week so it’s been good to have a few days to get some rest and lick our wounds a little bit,” added the American international, who spent the 2009-10 campaign on loan at Hull.
“Then you get back on the training ground and keep working on it.
“Last week was a great one for us and to top it off with the performance and result in the derby was special, it was very nice.
“It could have been more. I think that’s a testament to how hard we’ve been working in training.
“The way the fans are singing and how happy they are at the moment says everything, especially when you consider how we started the season.
“It’s great to see them full of voice and enjoying it, because in the end, it’s all for them.”