Sam Allardyce has delivered a hint towards his Sunderland future by declaring he “still loves” his job, despite the threat of relegation.
Allardyce’s long-term status at the Stadium of Light was again the subject of speculation over the weekend, with reports that the 61-year-old could retire if Sunderland are relegated, despite another year remaining on his contract.
Even with all the problems we’ve had this season, I still love it for some strange reasonSam Allardyce
The ex-West Ham boss has pledged to speak with chairman Ellis Short at the end of the season to discuss his position, where he is likely to want assurances over transfer funds, regardless of which division Sunderland are in.
But despite Allardyce’s six month reign at Sunderland involving fighting relegation, he stresses that he does still relish his job after the Black Cats eased the pressure-cooker by winning at relegation rivals Norwich City on Saturday.
“There’s pressure every week, it’s never changed since I’ve been here,” said Allardyce.
“We’ve barely been out of the bottom three.
“I’ve lived with that pressure ever since I joined the club and I’ve aged a bit, or so my wife keeps telling me. She wonders why I keep doing this stupid job!
“But even with all the problems we’ve had this season, I still love it for some strange reason.
“Yes, I feel the pressure, but I’m calm enough in the way I act with the players to guide them in the right direction.
“But deep down inside, the tummy did turn over a few times on Saturday morning!”
Victory at Norwich - which narrowed the gap with safety to a solitary point - has eased Sunderland’s task to remain in the Premier League, albeit they could be leap-frogged by second bottom Newcastle tonight if the Magpies beat Manchester City.
But Allardyce still believes Sunderland require a further eight points from their last five games if they are to convert hope into the euphoria of survival.
He added: “I’m only glad the lads handled the pressure and it’s given us, the fans, everyone hope that we can get out of trouble yet again.
“We’ve made life a little easier for ourselves, but there’s still a huge task ahead of us.
“While we all know that we can play a lot better than at Norwich, the only important thing from now on is trying to win football matches.”