Poyet dares to dream as Sunderland exit drop zone

Sunderland's Connor Wickham celebrates his second and his sides fourth goal.
Sunderland's Connor Wickham celebrates his second and his sides fourth goal.
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“I BELIEVE in miracles,” sang Hot Chocolate’s Errol Brown in the 1970s band’s most famous hit.

It will be a sentiment head coach Gus Poyet will be be echoing should Sunderland finish this season where they sit today – outside the relegation zone.

Despite the Uruguayan having memorably talked down his team’s chances of survival after a 5-1 defeat at Spurs at the star of the month – “we need a miracle now,” he said at the time – the Sunderland boss admits he is now daring to dream.

“I’ve talked about miracles and I hope that in two weeks’ time I’m saying miracles do happen,” he beamed yesterday in the wake of Sunderland’s 4-0 crushing of Cardiff City, which lifted the Wearsiders to fourth-bottom spot, with a game in hand on all three sides below them.

Should Sunderland complete the great escape, you wouldn’t put it past Poyet offering up a couple of verses of song himself, so buoyant was he yesterday in the wake of such a big result for the club.

But, despite his happiness, Poyet also retained a sense of perspective and the knowledge that there may could easily be a sting in the tale for Sunderland in this most unpredictable of Premier League campaigns.

“It’s the most strange, unexpected and incredible season I’ve ever been involved in I think,” he said, shaking his head.

“But we will finish where we deserve this season – I don’t worry about that.

“I think we have momentum though – we are in a good run.

“When teams go on a bad run at this stage it is very hard for them to get out of it, but we are going in the right direction.

“We’ve given ourselves the biggest opportunity we could dream about – so let’s make sure we do it.”

Key to Sunderland’s fate will be the continued form of powerhouse striker Connor Wickham.

The 21-year-old has now scored five goals in his last three games and Poyet was fulsome in his praise of the youngster after yesterday’s comprehensive victory.

“He scored two headers against Cardiff City – which is so important for a striker of his size – and the first header is of the top, top level,” said Poyet.

“It was outstanding.

“I was hoping Connor would come good and he is doing.

“He needed a run of games and he got it on loan and now, the way he is developing, he could become a major player for Sunderland Football Club.

“It’s all good for us as the moment though – we are getting the breaks we weren’t getting before and maybe we are getting them now at exactly the right time.”