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'We must treat last two games seriously' says Sunderland defender
WES BROWN insists Sunderland's preparations for the final two games of the season will not be affected by Norwich City clinching a stay of execution in the Premier League.
The Canaries' surprise goalless draw at Chelsea on Sunday meant the threat of relegation to the Championship has not completely gone away for Sunderland.
However, with back-to-back home games to finish the season with, the Black Cats know a point against either West Brom tomorrow or Swansea on Sunday will finish the job off.
It would take an almighty collapse for Sunderland to drop out of the top-flight now, particularly as Norwich's only remaining game is against Arsenal at Carrow Road.
The feelings inside the Sunderland dressing room, however, have not changed since securing the vital 1-0 win at Manchester United on Saturday which condemned both Fulham and Cardiff to relegation.
Brown said: “We all watched the Norwich game on Sunday, but regardless of what happened there we knew we had two more games to win a game - and both of those were at home.
“We can go in to those games with the same mindset of trying to win a game. That's all we can do and that's all we were going to do regardless of what happened on Sunday.
“You think now about how we will approach these two games and how different it could have been. There is a completely different approach to what it would have been like a few weeks ago.
“Even when we went to Manchester City, where there was a small mistake from Vito Mannone, we have never had a go at each other and we have all stuck together to get the job done. We just have to keep going.”
On April 12, Brown was responsible for turning in Gerard Deulofeu's cross beyond Mannone to give Everton the points at the Stadium of Light. At that stage Sunderland were seven points adrift of safety and looked certainties for the Championship.
The precarious situation facing Sunderland led to Poyet's comments that they were in need of a 'miracle' and the experienced Brown thinks the last nine months have been completely different to anything he has encountered before.
Brown, a former title winner with Manchester United, said: “It is the craziest season I have been through, it really is.
“It started off with a change of manager, then we weren't doing so well in the league but were doing well in the cups.
“After that we started to improve in the league, then didn't win in the league for ages but stayed in the Capital One Cup and got to the final.
“It has been up an down. Since the cup final finished we didn't win many in the league until now. We probably took our foot off the pedal because we had games in hand.
“But you need to win those. In the last six games, we have come together and we worked hard. We committed everything to all the fans, for ourselves and for the whole club.”
Collecting ten points from 12 against Manchester City, Chelsea, Cardiff and Manchester United has shown Sunderland have had the quality within their ranks.
The likelihood is, though, that the squad will break up during the summer, with Poyet keen to put his own stamp on things after taking over Paolo Di Canio last October. Saturday's goal-hero, Seb Larsson, is one of a number of players out of contract and is interesting Stoke City.
“I think we have played some good football,” said Brown. “We have known the situation, we have had to battle down and shut up shop at times. When we have got the ball, we have looked a good team.
“We have scored goals. The more the confidence comes the better we will be as a team and if we can start next season like that then hopefully we will avoid a repeat.”
He added: “I scored the own goal against Everton when it was looking bleak. It has been like that a lot this season. We never put our heads down and we believed we could stay up. We have shown that over the last two or three weeks.
“There would have been sides that crumbled, like sides have, but in the changing room there has always been a good belief. We have nearly always played well, just haven't had that end product or we have conceded a few.
“We all said to each other that we have nothing to lose so we might as well go out with our heads held high, we have carried on and we have helped ourselves.”