sport

Cattermole savours survival

Lee Cattermole admits Sunderland's success in their battle to avoid Premier League relegation has yet to sink in.

Gus Poyet's side looked almost certain to lose their Premier League status just a few weeks ago, but they defied the odds with a series of performances that Cattermole described as "absolutely incredible".

Sunderland earned shock wins at both Chelsea and Manchester United while holding title favourites Manchester City to a draw at the Etihad Stadium.

They also beat fellow strugglers Cardiff and secured their top-flight place for next season with Wednesday's 2-0 home victory over West Brom.

Cattermole said: "I think there will be a day in the summer when we wake up and think: 'That was some achievement'.

"It hasn't sunk in yet, but, as lads, we have got to thank everyone who has had to deal with the whole season.

"We have stuck together and come through it. We don't know how, but the results have been absolutely incredible. There isn't another word.

"We have pulled it off and we have got to be looking at pushing the other end of the table next year. That's what we have got to aim to do.

"It was a bit too close for anyone's liking. We have got to learn lessons from that and improve, because when you see nights like (Wednesday) night and the Cardiff game with the place full, it means a lot."

A 1-0 home defeat by Everton on April 12 left the Black Cats at the foot of the table and seven points adrift of safety with just six games remaining.

But their 2-2 draw at City sparked a revival, with midfielder Cattermole playing a pivotal role in their run of four straight wins.

"When everyone is writing you off, it's your job to go out and play," he added.

"We are all competitors and we don't give in. That's where we are as people and that's probably why we have made it in the game. We have shown our character.

"You can say all the cliches, but, ultimately, it came down to us playing some good football and sticking together."