GUS POYET accepts Sunderland’s trip to West Ham this weekend can be classed in the category of “must-win”.
The Premier League’s bottom side head to Upton Park at least five points adrift of all of the sides above them after taking just one point from their last four games.
Poyet acknowledges Sunderland are running out of time to record the victories needed to remain in contention with the cluster of teams involved in the relegation scrap.
And with only goal difference separating the fourth bottom Hammers from the bottom three, Poyet realises the magnitude of Saturday’s encounter.
Poyet said today: “You can say you must win every game, but when you are at the bottom of the table and playing a team who is close to you, people call it a must-win game.
“Yes, I think it is.
“The idea is to make sure we go and win this one.
“Probably these next two games (Norwich at home seven days later) will define the season.
“I would like to think this is close to that limit of needing to win.”
But Poyet, who will still be without injured pair Keiren Westwood and Carlos Cuellar on Saturday, will stay clear of forming a pre-conceived idea of whether to throw caution to the wind in the second half, if the scores are level.
“I don’t like to go into the game thinking if this happens or that,” he added.
“That’s like a Playstation game and football is not like that.
“It depends on so many things and how we are performing and the opposition.
“If we are rubbish and West Ham are the better team and we’ve been defending and it’s a good game to take a point, then maybe we will take that.
“But I don’t agree going to the game with changes planned before you start.”