Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McCarthy Aims to Go out on a High

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McCarthy Aims to Go out on a High

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

Mick McCarthy admitted last night that he wished Sunderland's final Premiership game had been a title decider.

The Black Cats entertain Arsenal at the Stadium of Light tomorrow in a game that was expected to be of vital importance in the Premiership race.

But the Gunners' surprise defeat by Leeds United, which handed the crown to Manchester United last weekend, means both sides are now playing for nothing more than pride.

And while McCarthy insisted the game was still a fitting finale to Sunderland's top-flight tenure, he also regretted it was not going to have more importance attached to it.

"I was hoping they would need to win the match to win the title," said the former Republic of Ireland coach.

"A title-deciding match on the final day of the season would have been a great occasion for us to be involved in.

"It would have made it something intense and special and it would have been the ideal way to close the season and end our stay in the Premiership.

"It is still a fantastic game as we are playing a side of the quality of Arsenal on the final day of the season, but it could have been a title decider and that would have been even better.

"The season has felt flat since last weekend when Arsenal lost, but then we've been playing it out for a lot longer than that already." Sunderland have been aware of their fate for over a month now after a diabolical campaign which has seen them gain the unwanted record as the Premiership's worst ever team.

But, while McCarthy is adamant there will be no celebration at the Stadium of Light after such a woeful run, he hopes his side will send the club's fans away on their summer holidays with a smile on their face.

The game could also be the final opportunity for fans to see the likes of Kevin Phillips, Jody Craddock, Thomas S0rensen and Gavin McCann in a Sunderland shirt, with all four expected to find new clubs in the summer. …

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