WATCHING his former club Chelsea stumble to a stalemate against Norwich City was a painful experience for Gus Poyet last weekend.
Through gritted teeth, he admits he watched: “A little bit at the beginning and a little bit in the second half.”
Had the Canaries succumbed to Jose Mourinho’s side, it would have effectively confirmed their relegation and sealed Sunderland’s place in the Premier League.
Everyone expected Norwich to lose, yet they gritted it out for a draw to keep the relegation dogfight alive.
It has understandably created a few jitters among Sunderland fans in the subsequent days, despite the Black Cats requiring just a point from their final two home games to secure their survival.
But Poyet was in a more reflective mood ahead of tonight’s visit of West Brom.
The Sunderland boss points out that Crystal Palace’s draw against Liverpool on Monday reinforces the mantra that no results can be taken for granted - the Black Cats themselves becoming masters of upsetting the big boys this season.
And Sunderland are still two points better off than Norwich heading into the last two games, while they can beat the drop before the last day - a scenario which supporters would have gladly accepted even a week ago.
Poyet said: “Probably after the Chelsea game, a few Sunderland people would have been like ‘why is it always us?’.
“But the Liverpool-Palace game proved nothing is finished. We need to go on and make sure we get there.
“I was expecting this to go to the wire.
“But it would be great to do it before because then I can sit down with the players on Thursday and Friday.
“We’ve put ourselves in an incredible situation which wasn’t expected. We’ve got two games to get over the line.”
While Norwich’s draw frustrated Sunderland, it sealed West Brom’s place in the Premier League and Poyet is unsure how that will affect the Baggies.
“Which West Brom are we going to get? I don’t know,” he said.
“I don’t know whether they will be more relaxed and better play football or think the job is done.”
Despite still requiring that elusive point, Poyet is confident his players will be able to handle the pressure of expectation tonight, particularly as confidence is high after three successive Premier League wins.
“I saw the team concentrate in training yesterday and nothing was different,” he added.
“It wasn’t too relaxed or too tense.
“The idea is to put in a good performance, connect with the fans and make it very difficult for West Brom.
“Will we be any more nervous at home to West Brom than at Man United? I don’t think so.
“The idea is to go and perform.”