Manager Sam Allardyce wants his team to shed escape artists tag after Sunderland miraculously avoid drop from EPL
London: Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce steeled the club for a crucial close season as they bid to end their reputation as EPL relegation escape specialists.
Allardyce hailed the club"s "miraculous" effort to secure their top-flight future with a game to spare after a 3-0 victory over Everton on Wednesday condemned neighbours Newcastle United and Norwich City to join Aston Villa in the Championship next season.
"We"re safe with a game left and that"s pretty miraculous," Allardyce said. "I"m relieved to go to Vicarage Road (to play Watford) with nothing on the line. Yes, I am staying next season, but a club like this can"t be cheering and doing a lap of honour just for escaping from relegation."
Former Newcastle manager Allardyce added: "From January, we"ve been a team. Our signings in that window have proved crucial and now the next set of recruitment over the summer is just as important.
Sunderland's Lamine Kone (top) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the EPL match against Everton at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland on Wednesday. Pic/AFP
"We"ve secured the financial side of things by staying up. That puts us on a par with all the other clubs in EPL next season. So we"ve secured massive revenue levels the club has never seen before and it"s a great relief to the staff that there won"t be any cutbacks.
"They"ve said "never again" the past three seasons here after escaping from relegation, and that has to happen this time. There were some grim days in December, with five defeats in a row, and the only way forward was to get into the market in January. That was the only way we could survive."