GUS Poyet says Sunderland are overdue silverware and admits he would love to taste cup success in his first season on Wearside.
But he also accepts that Premier League survival is Sunderland’s primary mission this season.
That target became even more of a challenge for the Black Cats with their 1-0 New Year’s Day defeat to Aston Villa and the next league game, against fellow strugglers Fulham next Saturday, is now a hugely important fixture.
But, before then, come two cup ties and the opportunity for Poyet and his players to look to lift themselves and the Sunderland fans.
Poyet knows what a good cup run could do for morale on Wearside.
And it would be a dream for him to be the manager who ends Sunderland’s 41-year wait for a trophy and becomes the first boss since Bob Stokoe in 1973 to lead the Wearsiders to triumph at Wembley.
“I think everybody knows, given the position we are in, that the main thing is that we stay in the Premier League and we can’t really look beyond that,” said the Uruguayan.
“But why shouldn’t a club like Sunderland not have the ambition of winning a cup competition?
“This club has not won a major trophy for more than 40 years and that’s too long.
“Everyone still talks about that win in 1973 even now – that shows how much hunger there is for success here.
“We are through to the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup and if – and it’s a big if – we can beat Manchester United over two legs this month, we would be at Wembley.
“Can we go that far in the FA Cup? Who knows.
“But we will do our very best.
“The fans want to be proud of their team and see some victories, and I know every Sunderland fan would like to see the club win a cup again.”
When Poyet talks about the magic of the cup, he speaks from experience.
He got his hands on the FA Cup as a player when he won the trophy in 2000 with Chelsea.
He finished the season as the competition’s top scorer with six goals. playing every single round and scoring a hat-trick in the third round at Hull City, as well as scoring both goals in the Blues’ 2-1 semi-final win over Newcastle United.