Gus Poyet has insisted Sunderland still have plenty of work to do to secure their Premier League “miracle” by remaining in the English top flight when it seemed all hope had been lost.
The north-east side climbed out of the bottom three for the first time in more than two months thanks to a resounding 4-0 victory over relegation rivals Cardiff City on Sunday that saw the Welsh club replace them in propping up the rest of the division.
Sunderland head coach Poyet admitted the ‘Black Cats’ needed a miracle after they looked dead and buried when slipping seven points from safety with six games left earlier this month.
But after taking an improbable seven points from the last available nine, they have renewed hope of prolonging their seven-season stay in the Premier League.
With three games left, Poyet insists there remains plenty of work to do to reach the 36-point safety target he has set his side, whose comprehensive victory took them up to 32.
Two goals from England Under-21 international Connor Wickham, one from Emanuele Giaccherini, and a Fabio Borini spot-kick proved too much for Cardiff, who lost defender Juan Cala to a first-half red card after hauling down Wickham to concede the penalty converted by Borini.
Sunderland travel to Manchester United on Saturday, where they emerged victorious from a League Cup semi-final penalty shoot-out earlier this season, before hosting West Brom and Swansea City in the final week of the season and Poyet said: “The miracle is still there, but give me a couple of weeks before we can start talking properly about it.
“We’re on a good run and we have the momentum, but we can’t lose concentration.
“This has been the most strange, incredible and unexpected season I’ve ever known,” the former Chelsea and Uruguay midfielder added
“Given where we were only a few weeks ago, we’ve given ourselves the biggest opportunity we could dream about to get safe. Now we have to finish it.
“We have done everything we can, but we have done nothing yet. There are still a couple of games to play and everything can change. We have put ourselves in a great position. We are in the best position possible but we’re not over the line.”
Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted his side must win their last two games to have any hope of avoiding an immediate relegation to the Championship.
The Welsh side make a swift return to the north-east of England at Newcastle on Saturday, before bringing the curtain down on their campaign at home to Chelsea on May 11.
“Of course it’s a big blow, but we’ve got two games left, we’ve got to win both now,” said Solskjaer.
“We looked at this one as a possibility for three points, but we’ve got to look at the next two.”
The former Manchester United striker added: “We’ve got character in the side and my players don’t give up, they don’t stop trying to do their best.
“That’s what we’ve got to do for the next two weeks. I could have given them three or four or five days off now and told them meet on Friday or Saturday morning before the Newcastle game. That’s not me at all.
“We’ll start working again and that’s what we’ll do. There are two weeks left of the season and we’ve got to find a way of getting that mentality to believe that we can still do this, because we can.”
Follow us on Twitter @SprtNationalUAE