IN the wake of Sunderland’s first win at Old Trafford since 1968, Gus Poyet hailed the vital contributions of a string of players who might not be at the Stadium of Light next season.
The Black Cats have 10 players whose temporary or permanent contracts will expire at the club next month.
But, despite that, it is clear that the players involved in Sunderland’s four-game unbeaten run have been giving absolutely everything to help the club pull of a remarkable run which virtually ensured their Premier League survival at the weekend.
“They have been fantastic professionals,” said Poyet.
“It would have been so easy for the out-of-contract players – and we had something like five of them playing against Man United – so easy for them to have given up on Sunderland and started to think about next season.
“They did not do that.
“They are here.
“They are fighting for the club, for the fans, for themselves and they don’t want to go down – they won’t accept it.
“We have Marcos Alonso due to go back to Fiorentina at the end of the season, Santiago Vergini doesn’t have a contract for next season, Seb Larsson and Jack Colback are both set to finish their contracts, while Fabio Borini returns to Liverpool at the end of his loan.
“It’s a lot of players to have playing for you who might not be part of the long-term future of the club.
“But they don’t want relegation on their CV and they have shown that with their performances.
”They have been superb for us.
Poyet said he could hardly be prouder of all of his players generally after their heroic display against the Old Trafford side.
“It’s all about them,” he said.
“They believed, and they defended for their lives and, in the end, they got what they deserved.”