FABIO BORINI insists Sunderland’s trip to Fulham on Saturday is BIGGER than the League Cup semi-final.
Sunderland will take a one-goal lead into the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg at Old Trafford in a fortnight’s time after Borini’s penalty sealed a 2-1 victory over reigning Premier League champions Manchester United last night.
The Black Cats now have a real sniff of reaching a first major final since 1992.
But on-loan Liverpool striker Borini says Sunderland’s priority has to be remaining in the Premier League, with the Black Cats heading to fifth bottom Fulham this weekend, looking to bounce back from the defeat to Aston Villa in their last top flight outing.
Borini told the Echo: “I think the Fulham game is bigger.
“For me, it’s bigger because it’s more important to stay up.
“That’s a longer fight, instead of just two games.
“This is a short fight when anything can happen, but during 38 games in the league, it’s harder.
“The Aston Villa game was really disappointing because we needed to keep going with positive results and keep them close to us.
“But we’ve got another chance against Fulham, who are very close to us.
“It’s a good advantage to take to Old Trafford. But we don’t need to win just these games against the big teams.
“It’s the games that count for three points which are important for us; starting on Saturday.”
While Man United were below-par last night, David Moyes will hope to have injured big-hitters Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie back for the second leg.
Borini realises that the job is only half done in the tie, but says it is crucial that Sunderland are heading to Old Trafford with their noses in front.
“We played the first half last night and the second half is at Old Trafford, which should obviously be a bit harder,” said the Italian.
“Rooney will probably be back, and van Persie.
“But we’ll go there and play our games, as we always do.
“It’s only a little advantage. But it will give us confidence for the league and the second leg.”
Borini’s second half penalty, after Nemanja Vidic had cancelled out Ryan Giggs’ own goal, was his third in Sunderland colours.
And the 22-year-old admits he fought off the claims of Ki Sung-Yeung to take the penalty after the South Korean netted from the spot at Everton last month.
Borini added: “Ki took it at Everton, but I said I’ll take this one!
“I’m a striker, I want to score and take penalties. I’ve always done that in the past.”