David Moyes believes a good run in the FA Cup can go “hand in hand” with Sunderland’s battle for Premier League survival.
With the Black Cats in third-bottom spot, some fans and pundits believe it’s a competition they can do without this season.
I think a cup run lifts everybodyDAVID MOYES
But Moyes, whose side face Burnley in all-top flight third round tie at the Stadium of Light this afternoon could not disagree more.
He wants wins and progress and the confidence they produce.
“Definitely,” said the boss who reached the 2009 FA Cup final with Everton.
“I think a cup run lifts everybody.
“We don’t have European football, we don’t have other midweek things to give us a problem with games.
“The FA Cup ties – barring replays – are played on Saturdays and if you get knocked out you end up with free Saturdays.
“That’s not what I want, I want us to be playing and I think it can go hand in hand with the Premier League and improve our league performance.”
Moyes has been heartened by the form shown by his team at the Stadium of Light ever since Arsenal blew them away with three late goals to win 4-1 at the end of October.
The Black Cats have lost only one of their subsequent five home fixtures and they would have drawn that but for a wonder save in injury time from Thibaut Courtois against Chelsea.
“We are trying to build some momentum by winning more games, especially at the Stadium of Light, so that we get that winning feeling,” said the Scot.
“I want the crowd to get behind us, because we are going to have to win an awful lot of games at home in the run-in to stay in the Premier League.
“So let’s get the practice in now, let’s get used to doing it by getting through to the next round of the cup.”
Moyes says the lure of Wembley, which stages the semis and final, remains as strong as ever despite what people see as a now devalued tournament.
“I was fortunate that I did get to play at Wembley a couple of times in my career,” he said.
“It was great and it was the old Wembley, where you went out onto the pitch from behind the goal.
“You always wanted to get there – it was seen as the home of football.
“I do believe that players want to get to Wembley and play, it is a special place to go.
“I think the FA Cup is a special competition. It is a competition you want to be involved in.”