Sunderland can only blame themselves for another relegation fight

Ricardo Alvarez in action for Sunderland against Aston Villa.
Ricardo Alvarez in action for Sunderland against Aston Villa.

GUS POYET says Sunderland can only blame themselves for their participation in a third-successive nail-biting battle for survival.

Four of Sunderland’s last five Premier League games have been against sides scrapping alongside them at the wrong end of the table, yet the Black Cats have managed to come away with a measly two point-haul from that inviting run.

I think we’ve put ourselves in a terrible situation

Cats boss Gus Poyet

Saturday’s 4-0 humiliation against Aston Villa left Sunderland just a point and a place above the bottom three, with their hopes of creating some daylight with the drop zone now in tatters.

It is the third year on the spin that Sunderland’s Premier League status looks like going to the wire after the Black Cats have twice just managed to avoid the drop.

But under-fire boss Poyet says that is the price Sunderland have to pay for choking in the pivotal games against their relegation rivals.

Poyet said: “I think we’ve put ourselves in a terrible situation.

“We’ve had so many chances to put ourselves in a better position than we are, that it’s a real shame that we’re doing what we’re doing really.

“It’s only because of us. We can’t blame anyone else.

“Referee decisions might be one game, but they’re not every game.

“Starting well or not, or scoring first or not, it’s the same.

“It’s a shame. Saturday was a really big disappointment.”

Poyet has changed personnel and formations over recent weeks in a bid to find a winning formula for Sunderland, yet that has failed to reap any rewards.

There was no change against Villa, albeit Poyet was shocked at the manner of Sunderland’s first-half collapse, with the visitors netting four times in less than half-an-hour.

Poyet added: “We’ve got certain qualities. I see things that gives you the belief that they’re getting better, but it’s not happening.

“You need to search for solutions.

“We talk about changing or not changing the team, leaving the two strikers together.

“It’s very easy, but at the end of the day, it’s a result.

“We had the best week in training for a while, and the way we’d been training was the way we started the game.

“But sometimes in football, when you think you are in a good position, you fall down.”