GUS Poyet says Sunderland cannot afford to take lightly the daunting series of away games which starts with Manchester City this evening.
And he will send his players out at the Etihad to fight and scrap for something from tonight’s game - just as he will when the Black Cats take on Arsenal at the Emirates and then Liverpool at Anfield in their next two league fixtures.
Poyet told the Echo: “These are very, very tough away games and maybe in normal circumstances you might think that anything we get from them is a bonus.
“Normally, you might think that way and you might think to make the most of the home games and to win them.
“But the simple fact is that we have not won our home games against Norwich, Aston Villa, Hull.
“So we have to look to pick up our points away from home, against difficult sides - we cannot afford to write off any game.
“You can never predict where your points are going to come from in a season - you lose games you are favourites to win and you win games you are favourites to lose: that is football.
“And in these next three games we need to be looking at picking up points because every game is an opportunity, no matter how difficult.”
City could be missing Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri this evening and if that’s the case, Poyet will have no complaints, though he will not fool himself the task will become substantially easier.
“When I’m a fan I like to see the best players playing, when you’re a manager, you are less keen,” he smiled.
“Every world class player that they can’t field is a bonus for us but we know how many world class players they can call upon.
“Manchester City have been outstanding, they are clearly one of the best teams around.
If we are to get anything out of the game, we have to be at our best and they have to have a normal day.
“We have to be strong mentally more than anything.
“This is a good mental test for and of course for them. They are looking to return to winning ways and we are looking to make sure we don’t feel sorry for ourselves because of the Hull result.
“It’s hard right now for us, being at the bottom of the table, but it’s hard for everybody down there.
“A lot of clubs are struggling right now but we are lucky that apart from Steven Fletcher, we have pretty much everyone to call up. So the idea is to go to City and see if we can play against them and do ourselves justice.”