Poyet: Believe we're unbeatable
Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet is hoping his players return to action still feeing "unbeatable" after last season's great escape.
The Black Cats launch the new Barclays Premier League campaign at West Brom on Saturday having preserved their top-flight status with a remarkable late run which saw them avoid relegation despite for long periods looking like certainties for the drop.
Now Poyet, who has just completed his first pre-season with his squad, is hoping some of the momentum his team established remains as he looks for a much better start than predecessor Paolo Di Canio managed 12 months ago.
He told www.premierleague.com: "The good time we had stopped because the season finished.
"But we talk a lot about momentum and there are a few players, the players who have been there at the end of the season that finished playing with the feeling of being unbeatable, practically.
"I hope that we take it into this season because it is very, very important that we start well in the Premier League.
"If you do not, what happened to us last season can happen and, like I said in the beginning, I do not want to suffer again."
In a bid to avoid a repeat of last season's struggles, Poyet and sporting director Lee Congerton have spent the summer rebuilding the squad, with Brighton winger Will Buckley becoming the seventh new recruit on Thursday.
Perhaps the most eye-catching arrival to date is midfielder Jack Rodwell, who has completed a £10million move from Manchester City, where he endured two injury-plagued seasons.
Skipper John O'Shea said: "Fingers crossed we can give him (Rodwell) the platform to showcase the talent he undoubtedly has and that I witnessed as well, close hand, when he played for Everton.
"He was a fantastic talent and from what I have seen so far, he has got plenty of that ability and, hopefully, we can give him that platform to get back into the England team, get plenty of goals for us and get us up that table in the Premier League."