Friday 28 July 2017

David Moyes will not risk Sunderland's Premier League status for FA Cup glory

Sunderland midfielder Seb Larsson, right, has vowed to keep on fighting
Sunderland midfielder Seb Larsson, right, has vowed to keep on fighting

David Moyes will not risk Sunderland's Premier League status in pursuit of FA Cup glory.

The Black Cats head for Burnley on Tuesday evening for a third-round replay with either Fleetwood or Bristol City awaiting the winners in the next round.

They will do so having surrendered in alarming fashion to Stoke at the Stadium of Light on Saturday in a 3-1 defeat which saw them slip to within one place of the foot of the league table.

A battle-weary Moyes faces the task of lifting a depleted squad for a game he could really do without, and while he will send out a side he believes can win on the night, he has no doubt about his priority for the season.

He said: "We have got a game on Tuesday night. I'm glad I'm still in the cup, we've still got a chance of getting through. I'd like to get through to the next round of the cup if I could.

"I wouldn't sacrifice being in the Premier League, let me tell you that, but in the same breath, I'd like to be through in the cup if we could.

"We've not decided yet on what team we have got or what we'll go with. I'll make that decision over the next day or two."

Burnley's stunning home form - Saturday's 1-0 win over Southampton took their points tally at Turf Moor this season to 25 from their total of 26 - makes the game intensely difficult.

Sunderland lost 4-1 in the league in Lancashire on December 31 as Andre Gray took full advantage of woeful defending to plunder a hat-trick, and they will have to be significantly better this time around if they are to improve upon that result.

However, Moyes knows just how important a cup victory could be to erase the memory of Saturday's debacle.

He said: "We have played quite well at home recently - if you look at our record, you'd say we've done okay, had some good results, had a great performance against Liverpool and got a good solid draw out of it.

"Saturday's for me, I wouldn't even call it a performance. I just thought the individual mistakes never allowed you to judge the performance, whether it was good or bad.

"Obviously you'll say it's bad because of the result, but the mistakes were the reason that it came around. We didn't really get a chance to say, 'How well did Sunderland play?' because we were 3-0 down after 35 minutes or so."

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