Cuellar: Now’s not the time for Sunderland inquest

Stoke City's Cameron Jerome (right) battles for the ball with Sunderland's Carlos Cuellar.

Stoke City's Cameron Jerome (right) battles for the ball with Sunderland's Carlos Cuellar.

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CARLOS Cuellar says he fully understands if Sunderland fans are unhappy with the way their season has gone.

But he believes they appreciate what is at stake right now – with points still needed against Southampton today and Tottenham next weekend – and will save any further blood-letting to the close season.

The Spanish defender told the Football Echo: “It has been disappointing for the players as well as the fans not to have had the sort of season we had hoped for when it first started.

“The fact that things have not gone as well as we wanted is obvious, because a manager has lost his job.

“But, in my view, we can look at those sort of situations at the end of the season.

“If there are criticisms to be made, we should make them then.

“Right now though, we need everyone united because we have a job to do. And the most important thing is that everyone pulls together to make sure we achieve our goal, which is ensuring Sunderland are still playing Premier League football next season.”

The fans have already played their part.

Their support in both the home games against Everton and Stoke helped get Sunderland over the line – a win over the Toffees and a much-needed point gained against Stoke with just 10 men on the park following Craig Gardner’s dismissal.

And Cuellar says the remarkable support has been one of the personal highlights of his season.

“When the Stadium of Light is as noisy as that, it is an amazing place,” said the former Aston Villa and Rangers man. “I love to hear that sound on matchday and, for me, it has been one of the best things about coming to the club.

“Professional football is strange in that way – as a professional, you always try your hardest in every game, that’s simply what you must to do.

“And yet when a crowd gets behind you like that, even if you think you have been doing your very best, you can sometimes find a bit more.

“And I think that is why we have managed to get something more out of these last few games.”

Twitter @sunechograeme

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