Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Relegation Battle Will Go to the Wire - Poyet

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Relegation Battle Will Go to the Wire - Poyet

Article excerpt

Byline: James Hunter Sports Writer

GUS Poyet expects the Premier League relegation tussle to go right to the wire, with ELEVEN clubs still in danger.

This season's battle against the drop is the closest ever, with a spread of just four points covering nine clubs ranging from tenth place down to third-bottom.

Even basement side Fulham and next-to-bottom Cardiff are not yet cut adrift, standing just four points and three points from safety respectively.

Sunderland have themselves seen how quickly the situation can change, with back-to-back wins against Stoke and Newcastle lifting them out of the bottom three and up as high as 14th, before Saturday's defeat against Hull - coupled with West Brom's draw against Chelsea last night - saw them slip back into the bottom three on goal difference ahead of tonight's trip to Manchester City.

There are bound to be more twists and turns but, with so many sides still in the mix, Poyet believes the relegation battle will go to the last game.

"It's incredible," he said. "I think it's going to go to the wire and I'm not just talking about us.

"I think there are six teams that are going to be fighting right to the end, to the last one or two games.

"The sooner we can get safe, the better, because there are contracts to sort out and players on loan.

"It's very difficult to deal with all that when you don't know what's going to happen.

"We always say that if you go on a good run, you can get out, but if you go on a bad run, you'll be down at the bottom again.

"I think the idea is to make sure we continue to be a diffi-cult team to play against, like we've been for the last two months.

"Then it will be a surprise if we don't win some games."

Premier League bosses have long regarded 40 points to be the safety benchmark, although for the last two seasons 37 points would have been sufficient for survival. …

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