LIAM BRIDCUTT believes Sunderland’s fans have to take a share of the credit for the Black Cats remaining in the Premier League.
The Stadium of Light was filled with a crowd in excess of 45,000 for the third successive home game on Sunday, as Sunderland supporters celebrated top flight survival.
While the 3-1 defeat to Swansea was a dead-rubber, the previous two home games against Cardiff and West Brom were critical to Sunderland’s fight against the drop and Gus Poyet’s side responded with back-to-back league wins at the Stadium of Light for the first time this season.
And midfielder Bridcutt, who returned to the starting XI against the Swans after Lee Cattermole was ruled out through injury, says that support from the terraces played its part in Sunderland’s remarkable escape from relegation.
Bridcutt told SportMail: “Since I’ve come in, the fans have been brilliant. They’re some of the best fans I’ve come across.
“Even though we couldn’t do it for them on Sunday, they stuck by us.
“They’ve shown great loyalty and respect for us.”
Bridcutt admits Sunderland’s performance levels dipped on the final day of the campaign, as Poyet’s men suffered their first defeat in seven games.
But the £2.5million January signing believes that was perhaps inevitable after getting over the finishing line to survival four days earlier with the 2-0 win over West Brom.
“It was disappointing to lose the game because we wanted to end on a high,” added the 25-year-old.
“The last few weeks have been excellent for us and we tried to keep going, but it just wasn’t there for us.
“I think the games that we’ve had in the last couple of months have probably pushed us to the limit.
“It’s been difficult for us over the last few weeks and to finally go and do it was a relief really.
“You could probably say on Sunday that we were flat.
“But at the end of the day, we’d done the hard work at the key point of the season and it’s worked for us.”
– CHRIS YOUNG