Poyet won't accept any excuses

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet has warned his players they have "no excuses" as they bid to build on their midweek Capital One Cup heroics by claiming a win.

Sunderland's Uruguay manager Gus Poyet

Poyet is convinced the Black Cats' extra-time win over Jose Mourinho's Chelsea can be the spur they need to start the long haul towards top-flight safety provided they show the mental strength required to see it through.

Poyet said: "When you play a top team like Chelsea if you lose in extra-time you are devastated and take maybe two weeks to recover - but if you win you feel stronger and ready to play.

"We want to take that result as a great boost of confidence into this game on Saturday. It's a game we go into with no excuses and that is how I like to see my players go out onto the pitch."

Poyet is all too aware of the previous false dawns during his brief period in charge, with his side failing to capitalise either on the derby win over Newcastle or the 1-0 success over Manchester City.

And with his side already resigned to spending Christmas at the bottom of the pile, Poyet is not under-estimating the importance of a game he knows most people around the club will expect them to win.

"We have always been looking for that key important game and now it's this one," Poyet added. "We keep dreaming about when it's going to happen and I would like to say after this game that it is the turning point in our season."

Poyet has no new injury concerns after the win over Chelsea, with Steven Fletcher and Jack Colback both available again after illness and only Keiren Westwood and Carlos Cuellar still sidelined.

The stigma of being bottom of Christmas and the reputation for such a position almost guaranteeing relegation - only West Brom have survived - is one of which Poyet is only too aware.

"The position is not nice but I don't try to hide it," said Poyet. "If one team has done it then so can somebody else and we hope it's going to be us. But we have to make sure we do it as soon as possible.

"We need to get involved with the other teams who are close by so we can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, then it will be possible. If we keep staying six or seven points behind it will be hard.

"It's going to be tough but we need to make sure we do the right things ourselves first. We can't keep thinking about our position otherwise it is impossible to win games.

"We need to address a few things and concentrate on doing our bit."



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