Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

We Can't Rely on Repeat of Great Escape, Says Vergini; Defender Says Black Cats Must Secure Survival before Final Two Games

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

We Can't Rely on Repeat of Great Escape, Says Vergini; Defender Says Black Cats Must Secure Survival before Final Two Games

Article excerpt

Byline: James Hunter Sports Writer twitter: @JHUNTERCHRON

SANTIAGO Vergini says Sunderland must secure survival over the next four weeks rather than rely on another lastgasp escape.

The Black Cats remain deep in relegation trouble, Leicester's victory over Swansea City at the weekend slashing the gap between the Wearsiders and the bottom three to just a point.

They have six games to beat the drop but face trips to top two Arsenal and Chelsea in the final week of the season.

Sunderland's 'miracle' escape last season included away wins against big boys Chelsea and Manchester United and a hard-earned point at champions Manchester City.

Vergini - who was on loan at Sunderland for the second half of last season and returned to Wearside on a seasonlong deal this term - was one of the mainstays of the side in the run-in 12 months ago and played in all three of those games.

He knows Sunderland would be unwise to push their luck again and rely on picking up points against Arsenal and Chelsea at the end of May.

Instead, he says they must put all their efforts into the next four games, which see Sunderland head to Stoke City this weekend, entertain Southampton, visit Everton and then welcome Leicester to the Stadium of Light.

The Argentina international centreback said: "In an ideal world we would win the next three or four games and then we could enjoy the rest of the season.

"However, all of the games will be dif-ficult and we will have to work extremely hard to get any result.

"In an ideal situation, though, we would go into those last two games not needing to get a result."

Vergini spent much of his loan spell last season operating at right-back as Sunderland struggled for defensive cover.

He has filled in at right-back on occasions this season but has played the majority of his 28 league starts in his preferred central defensive role.

With Wes Brown suffering a knee injury in new head coach Dick Advocaat's first game in charge against West Ham last month, Vergini is likely to partner skipper John O'Shea at the heart of defence for the remainder of the run-in. …

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