Sam Allardyce refused to revel in Newcastle United’s misery, despite Sunderland sending their neighbours plummeting into the Championship.
Sunderland enjoyed double euphoria at the Stadium of Light last night after victory over Everton ensured the Black Cats remain in the top flight, plus inflicting relegation on neighbours Newcastle.
The Magpies have enjoyed a mini-renaissance under new manager Rafa Benitez, yet it hasn’t been sufficient to avoid the drop after a season which has seen Sunderland’s fiercest rivals splash out £80million in the transfer market.
When asked if he had any sympathy for Benitez, Allardyce said: “It is not his fault. He has come and tried and made a gallant effort with the pressure of winning two and drawing three.
“He hasn’t lost in five but we have only lost one in 10 and that is why we have managed to get out of trouble.”
Allardyce brushed off suggestions that Sunderland’s survival was made sweeter by Newcastle’s relegation – the club that sacked the the 61-year-old back in 2008.
But he did admit it was nice to dismiss predecessor Dick Advocaat’s prediction that Sunderland’s squad didn’t boast sufficient quality to remain in the Premier League.
“Sweet is proving Dick wrong,” added Allardyce.
“It was a challenge when he said that this team is not what I want to be associated with and that they will get relegated.
“I have the utmost respect for Dick and what he has achieved in his career but I have used that as a motivational tool for the players.
“We have gone and proved him wrong, which is great. I have come and done the job, it is more satisfying for the players.
“I am delighted we are not going down. This is the worst ever season you can go down with the money.
“We have secured massive revenue and massive turnover levels they have never seen before.
“And for the whole staff there is a great relief there won’t be any cutbacks.”