SUNDERLAND could not be meeting Norwich City at a better time, says Black Cats head coach Gus Poyet, who feels his players are in the perfect frame of mind for the relegation scrap.
The bottom-of-the-table Wearsiders need to narrow the gap between themselves and the rest of the bottom half and Poyet is delighted by the fact his players will go into the match against one of their relegation rivals on the back of Tuesday’s morale-boosting Capital One Cup win over Chelsea.
“I’m very positive ahead of this weekend’s game, because this is a great time for us to play against Norwich,” Poyet told the Echo.
“The perfect moment to play this game was three days after beating Newcastle, three days after beating Man City – or now!
“We have just beaten Chelsea, delivered a good performance and reached the semi-finals of the cup, so I don’t think there is a better time.
Sunderland’s two previous league wins under Poyet – against Newcastle United in the Wear-Tyne derby in October and Manchester City in November – were followed by defeats, against Hull City and Stoke respectively.
But Sunderland boss Poyet believes this time will be different.
“Of course, the way we followed those two wins was very disappointing,” he said.
“One was a crazy game – scoring an own goal and going down to nine men at Hull. It was not a typical game.
“Then, after we beat Man City, the international break came before the game at Stoke – it wasn’t a good time for the break, because it killed our momentum.
“But I think now, playing Norwich four days after winning against Chelsea? It is perfect.
“The timing, the way the players – and the fans – will be. it’s perfect.
“There are no excuses.”
Although goalkeeper Keiren Westwood (shoulder) and defender Carlos Cuellar (hip) remain on the long-term injured list, the short-term problems of Steven Fletcher and Jack Colback have been successfully resolved, with both now fully recovered from viruses and in full training.
Poyet shrugged: “Jack and Steven fully fit, a win newly under our belts and the players and the fans on a high? There is nothing to complain about.
“We just have to go out against Norwich and continue to play with the same physical and mental strength as we have done in our last couple of games and we will be fine.”