GUS Poyet says if Sunderland can maintain the standards they set against Manchester United in the Capital One Cup semi-final, they will stay up this season.
The demands of the knockout tournaments have been taking centre stage in Sunderland’s stage with the Capital One Cup game at Old Trafford on Wednesday and today’s FA Cup tie against Kidderminster.
But league action will resume before you know it – Stoke City this Wednesday at the Stadium of Light; Newcastle United at St James’s Park on Saturday.
And Poyet says the Black Cats’ aim has to play as consistently well as they did against Manchester United in their two semi-final games.
“The Old Trafford game was incredible,” Poyet told the Football Echo. “We played well in the first leg, but the character and the quality we showed in the second was fantastic.
“And I felt so good afterwards, partly because I thought that, if we play like that from now on, we will stay up.
“I was feeling very proud – even when we were losing 1-0.
“I was standing there thinking to myself: ‘I like this, I like this, this is how I want us to play.’”
The highlight for Poyet came in the first half and a move which saw Sunderland string 31 consecutive passes together before Adam Johnson’s visionary long ball was taken down fluidly by Fabio Borini, who lashed a long-range shot just over David de Gea’s crossbar.
“I’m glad you mentioned that,” said Poyet, “I’m really glad because no-one else has.
“It has got lost among all the other things that happened that night, but, for me, it was a special moment.
“If the shot had dipped an extra yard then we would have been talking about one of the goals of the season in the way that it was patient, patient, patient and then a great pass and a great shot.
“It was top quality football. That was a highlight.
“But, for me, watching the game over the 120 minutes, I found so much to be proud of.
“In that game, things felt as though they were coming together and I felt that, ‘yes, this is my team’.
“Now we have to keep those standards because if we do that in the league games ahead we can do well.”
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