Mixed emotions for Sunderland players after Leicester draw

Connor Wickham in action for Sunderland against Leicester City. Picture by FRANK REID
Connor Wickham in action for Sunderland against Leicester City. Picture by FRANK REID
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CONNOR WICKHAM admits there were mixed emotions in the Sunderland dressing room at the prospect of an extended wait to learn their fate in the relegation battle.

Sunderland blew the chance to confirm their place in the Premier League next season after they were held to a stalemate by Leicester on Saturday – their 16th draw of the campaign.

We’ve still got that cushion and Hull need to beat Man United on the last day

Connor Wickham

Yet Sunderland extended the gap with the relegation zone to three points and now only require a solitary point from their final two games at Arsenal and Chelsea to be mathematically certain of top-flight football next season.

Unless third-bottom Hull beat Manchester United on Sunday, Sunderland will already be safe, regardless of the outcome at the Emirates and Stamford Bridge.

“It’s pretty mixed,” admitted Wickham. “We’ve moved three points clear of Hull.

“The performance was okay, not great, but we’ve still got that cushion and Hull need to beat Man United on the last day.

“They’re tough games away from home, but we know what we need to do – we need one point.

“We’re capable of doing that, so there’s two opportunities to clinch it and hopefully we can do it on Wednesday night.

“We know what we need to do. It’s in our hands now.

“Anything we can do towards survival is going to be key. Maybe we missed an opportunity to clinch it, but we’ll take it, move on and we’re still confident.”

Wickham says Sunderland’s players were aware of scorelines elsewhere during the game, with drop rivals Newcastle and Hull both losing – at QPR and Spurs respectively.

But despite the lift those scores gave to the Stadium of Light’s second highest crowd of the campaign, Sunderland could not find a way through Leicester’s resilient rearguard to grab maximum points.

“We heard Tottenham had gone ahead, but we’ll probably see it as an opportunity where we could have got points,” added Wickham.

“I got told by one of the players and then we heard from the fans. But results went our way, so we need one point and that will do it.

“Leicester came with a gameplan and they have been successful in the last few games with what they do.”