sport

Poyet: League still the focus

Gus Poyet insisted that he would prefer Premier League survival to FA Cup glory following Sunderland's 1-0 victory over Southampton.

The Black Cats booked their place in the quarter-finals thanks to a stunning Craig Gardner strike and Poyet was delighted to progress.

Having made nine changes to his side, the Uruguayan admitted the performance had left him with some tough selection decisions for the future.

The fixtures are stacking up for Sunderland, who also have a Capital One Cup final against Manchester City next month, but they remain entrenched in a relegation fight and that remains Poyet's overwhelming priority.

Reminded that Bob Stokoe, who led the Black Cats to FA Cup glory in 1973, is commemorated by a statue at the Stadium of Light, the 46-year-old said: "Me, I would prefer to stay in the Premier League.

"Apparently to be more famous, it's better to win the cup. I don't want any more people knowing me, I think they know me enough, so I would prefer to stay in the Premier League.

"I am not looking for a statue, that's for sure.

"It's a personal feeling. I can't answer for anybody else, it's me. I would be devastated if we go down, so it's me.

"Now at the same time, I have to say if we win the cup, I am going to be jumping up and down and I am going to be wanting to come back here and celebrate with the fans, that's true.

"We will see, we will see what happens."

While Gardner's strike proved the difference between the sides, Poyet was pleased that a number of players had pressed their claims for a regular place.

"I'm very pleased.Southampton are a very difficult side to play against; it's very difficult to have the ball, very difficult to have chances," Poyet told the club's official website.

"Normally they are on top and I think overall we were better than them."

Poyet added: "There were players today that have given me a lot to think about for the future and also about the shape of the team and the idea of playing with two strikers.

"I thought we were excellent on the ball today. Everybody was brave with their passing and decisions and that was the part that pleased me the most."