Belfast Telegraph

Poyet hails Black Cats after great escape act

Sunderland 2 - West Brom 0

By Damian Spellman

Gus Poyet guided Sunderland to Barclays Premier League safety and immediately turned his attention to ensuring they do not face the same battle next season.

The Black Cats became just the second club to lie at the foot of the table at Christmas to survive by virtue of a 2-0 victory over the other, West Brom, at the Stadium of Light last night.

It was their fourth successive win, something they had not achieved in the top flight since December 2000, and gave them a total of 13 points from the last 15 they have contested.

However, head coach Poyet, who celebrated deliriously with his players on the pitch after the final whistle, is adamant that the lessons of a remarkable campaign must be learnt.

He said: "That's fundamental for me. Can I go another year like these seven months? No. I'm strong, but I don't want to die, I don't want to have a heart-attack, I don't want to lose any more hair than I have lost already.

"I want to have a season where I can be calm, relax and see my team playing football week in, week out.

"Are you going to win the league? No, but we need to make sure we don't go another season like the last two or three because when you play with fire, in the end, you get burnt and we don't want to do that."

Sunderland got their noses in front when Jack Colback turned home Marcos Alonso's 13th-minute cross, and they were coasting when Fabio Borini volleyed home from Sebastian Larsson's delicate pass.

West Brom responded after the break, but the Black Cats could have extended their lead but for a glaring 65th-minute miss by substitute Jozy Altidore, and the points were safe long before the final whistle.

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