Sbragia wants safety secured on Monday

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Sunderland boss Ricky Sbragia is eager to avoid a nerve-jangling Barclays Premier League finale against Chelsea.

The Black Cats face an anxious wait to see where they will sit in the league table by the time they run out at Portsmouth on Monday night. If all goes well for them over the weekend, a point at Fratton Park could effectively secure their top-flight status. However, wins for Newcastle over Fulham at St James' Park and Hull at Bolton would send the Wearsiders into the relegation zone.

Sbragia said: "This is the big one for us. I would hope not to go into the last game of the season and need something. It's possible, you can always do it, but at the present we are just thinking about this Portsmouth game."

Sunderland started the weekend in 16th place, two points better off than the Magpies and the Tigers, and two adrift of Portsmouth in 15th, with Paul Hart's side themselves not yet mathematically safe.

However, the Black Cats have won only one of their last 11 games and taken just six points from a possible 33 in the process, and they have collected a meagre two points from the last 18 they have contested on the road.

That particular failing is one Sbragia has blamed in part on his own naivety.

He said: "We have not been consistent and the league shows that. We went to clubs like Arsenal and Liverpool and played a formation.

"Maybe in my naivety, I thought we could go to some clubs and play 4-4-2.

"I thought we could beat West Brom with a 4-4-2, but on the day, it didn't work for us.

"Maybe we have to address that and look at it and be a little bit more difficult away from home to beat and be much more solid, and in some cases, just try to steal a goal."

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