Carlos Cuellar

Carlos focused on task at hand

by Stuart Vose

No distractions elsewhere, says defender.

Carlos Cuellar says it’s vital that Sunderland remain focused ahead of this weekend’s big game against Southampton.

The Saints arrive on Wearside for the Black Cats’ final home game of the campaign, with Cuellar looking to sign off on a high.

And the Spanish defender feels there’s no room for distractions ahead of a vital fixture with the club looking to secure their Barclays Premier League status for 2013-14.

“It is a massive game for us and we have to be focused and make sure we win,” he said.

“We cannot wait on other results. First of all we have to do our jobs, win the game then we will be safe.

“To do that we must be 100% focused.”

Sunderland produced a gutsy performance with 10 men against Stoke in their last outing, fighting back from a goal down to claim a point.

John O’Shea’s second-half equaliser netted a precious share of the spoils after Jon Walters had given the visitors an early lead.

The Black Cats roared back despite Craig Gardner’s red card and Cuellar felt a draw was the least his side deserved.

“It is hard to play against Stoke when you are 11 versus 11,” he explained.

“We treated the game well and limited the damage they could cause.

“Even with 10 men I think we were the better side and created the better chances.

“We left the stadium thinking that we could have had the three points, but I think we were happy with a point in the end.”

O’Shea’s equaliser coupled with Wigan’s midweek defeat at Swansea leaves Sunderland three points above the Latics with a superior goal difference.

But Cuellar says it would be foolhardy for Sunderland to devote any attention elsewhere and he says the squad know what they have to do.

“We cannot think or expect that other teams are going to get bad results,” he said.

“Remember, Wigan won at Arsenal last year and I think they have a good opportunity to be safe.

“First and foremost we have to win on Sunday and then we don’t have to care what they have done as we will be safe.”