Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has kept his side in the Premier League after they beat Everton 3-0 at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday.
A fantastic free kick from Patrick van Aanholt opened the scoring against the Toffees before Lamine Koné’s brace wrapped up the points that keep the Black Cats up at the expense of Norwich City and Newcastle United.
“I didn’t envisage winning 3-0 tonight, I thought it would be tight but after the first goal we were fantastic, the lads were so confident and it just relieved the pressure from everybody,” Big Sam said.
“Three set pieces – two corners and a free kick – I think we could have had many more, but there was some good goalkeeping to keep it at 3-0 and just as important as the goals was the clean sheet at the other end.
“The turn of the year was a real eye-opener for me, how we turned around the season since then we became a lot more resilient, a lot tougher and we showed a lot more quality and we stuck together as a team.
“I’ve always said 38 points would do it and it has and now we’ve got a lovely trip to Watford to look forward to and we can relax and play a game of football that won’t be anywhere near as intense as our last few. The fans were able to enjoy the last 10 minutes because they knew we’d finally made it.
“Sunderland have done this for the last few years, the optimism we see tonight has got to become a reality and we need to start where we’re leaving off.
“There’ll be a lot of hard work needed and lots of planning but we’ll do our best.We’re finishing the season on a high and now we’ve got to make sure we start next season on a high! That’s what I want to see.”