THERE was a touch of the old pals’ act as Michael Laudrup talked up the prospects of his friend Gus Poyet saving Sunderland’s top-flight skins this season,
A horrific record of just one point from the first eight games has been recorded by just three other teams in Premier League history, and only Southampton, in the 1998/99 season, avoided relegation.
Poyet saw first hand the extent of the challenge as his debut game in charge ended up with Sunderland’s biggest defeat of the season.
But Laudrup said: “There are still 30 games to go and in this league, two wins – six points – and you are almost out of the bottom three.
“Sometimes you need just a little bit of luck in one or two games to go your way and that’s what Sunderland need right now.
“You can never say at this stage that any team is down.
“That will be decided in the last two months of the season – until the last two months of the season come along, we don’t really know anything.”
There’s no doubt, though, that a game against the Premier League whipping boys – Sunderland suffered their sixth consecutive defeat at the weekend – is much to be coveted by the league’s middling teams.
Swansea went into the Sunderland game having not won a league game at the Liberty Stadium all season – scoring only four times in their previous six home league games.
By the final whistle, they had scored four times in the space of half-an-hour.
Striker Wilfried Bony has the second worst conversion rate in the Premier League behind Spurs’ Paulinho, but he was gifted a goal from the penalty spot – Swansea’s first in 46 games.
And given Sunderland’s season so far, it was unsurprising when Laudrup revealed: “Strangely enough, I felt like we might get a penalty in this game.
“I’m only glad that we scored it – I wouldn’t have wanted to wait another 46 games for a second chance!”
He did concede, though, that Sunderland had provided stubborn opposition in the first half and that he had not expected an easy afternoon.
“People assume you’re going to win because you are playing the bottom team,” he said.
“But they have just changed manager and everyone wants to please the new person.
“It was a great win for us because it was a very difficult game.”
Swansea host Kuban Krasnodar in the Europa League on Thursday, and Laudrup said: “It’s a big week for us. It has started well. We have to move on and make sure we win the next two.”