April 22, 2024

The Black Cats are aiming for a place in the Championship play-offs, but they have been advised not to set too high expectations.

Sunderland’s FA Cup derby defeat to Newcastle United should serve as a warning to avoid overachieving this season. That is the opinion of former Black Cats and Chelsea defender Wayne Bridge, who believes his former club should not get ahead of themselves when it comes to short-term goals.

Michael Beale’s squad is solidly in contention for a top-six spot, tied on points with sixth-placed Coventry City with 19 games remaining. The Black Cats stunned everyone by making the play-offs last season, losing to Luton Town in two legs, but while they have been in contention for the whole of the season this time around, there have been questions about their consistency and, more importantly, goalscoring ability.


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Bridge, who spent time on loan in Wearside in 2012 after success with Southampton, Chelsea, and Manchester City, believes the team will need to be significantly improved if they are to make the play-offs. And he cited the 3-0 Newcastle defeat as an example of why promotion ‘too fast’ may not be a good thing.

“There was a clear difference in quality between Sunderland and Newcastle in their FA Cup tie,” Bridge was quoted by BetVictor. “So if Sunderland does come up, it may be too soon for them.

“They may just come right back down. Sunderland will undoubtedly want to be promoted this season, but sometimes you must be careful what you wish for.

“If they do go up, they will need to make significant improvements because I haven’t seen them kick on enough yet, and it is still up in the air whether they will make the play-offs. If they go up, the club’s infrastructure and everything else must be immaculate; otherwise, they will fall right back down. You can tell the gap in quality between them and the Premier League clubs.”


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