GUS POYET expects the relegation scrap to “go to the wire” with so many teams still involved in the battle to remain in the Premier League.
Sunderland dropped back into the relegation zone last night after West Brom’s late equaliser against Chelsea lifted the Baggies above the Black Cats on goal difference.
But with every side in the bottom half of the table still flirting with relegation, Sunderland’s prospects remain far from certain ahead of tonight’s daunting trip to title-chasing Manchester City.
Head coach Gus Poyet would love Sunderland to be clear of danger well before the finale so he could begin planning for next season, but he is braced for the relegation battle to be decided in the last fortnight of the campaign.
Poyet told the Echo: “It’s incredible.
“I think it’s going to go to the wire and I’m not just talking about us.
“I think there are six teams that are going to be fighting right to the end, to the last one or two games.
“The sooner we can get safe, the better, because there are contracts to sort out and players on loan.
“It’s very difficult to deal with all that when you don’t know what’s going to happen.
“We always say that if you go on a good run, you can get out, but if you go on a bad run, you’ll be down at the bottom again.
“I think the idea is to make sure we continue to be a difficult team to play against, like we’ve been for the last two months.
“Then, it will be a surprise if we don’t win some games.”
Despite such a bloated relegation battle, Poyet has still set his sights on 40 points as the tally Sunderland will need to beat the drop.
And he doesn’t mind how the Black Cats get the wins needed to achieve that figure after Poyet’s side continued their struggles against their relegation peers in Saturday’s defeat to Hull City.
Poyet added: “I always try to get close to 40. If you need a bit less, than fantastic.
“If we achieve that, it will give me a chance to see different things too.
“I’d rather beat West Ham etc, but I always say that and we don’t! I don’t know why.
“So let’s just win five games and see what happens with the rest.”