But it was then that something remarkable happened: they remembered how to win football matches. Having been denied victory at Manchester City only by a late goalkeeping error, they defied the odds to beat both Chelsea and Manchester United on their own pitches to pave the way for a completely unexpected great escape which was sealed against the Baggies with a game to spare thanks to goals from Jack Colback and Fabio Borini. Cattermole, whose own form over that run of games proved inspirational, said: “When everyone is writing you off, it’s your job to go out and play. “We are all competitors and we don’t give in. That’s where we are as people and that’s probably why we have made it in the game. We have shown our character. “You can say all the cliches, but, ultimately, it came down to us playing some good football and sticking together.” Poyet celebrated on the pitch with his players after the final whistle, having completed the mission he was handed last October. A man who wears his heart on his sleeve, he admitted the enormity of the situation had got to him at times, and there was one overriding feeling as he and owner Ellis Short congratulated each other on an emotional evening on Wearside. Poyet said: “I think there was a little bit of relief for both, for him and for me.” The 46-year-old Uruguayan will prepare his players for Sunday’s final-day clash with Swansea knowing the pressure is off, and already turning his attention to preparations for the new campaign and the more immediate task of dealing with a host of out-of-contract players. By contrast, opposite number Pepe Mel will head into Sunday’s showdown with Stoke looking for a reaction after a poor first-half display in the north-east which left his side with a mountain to climb. West Brom are not yet mathematically safe, although Norwich would need them to lose to Stoke and beat Arsenal with an improbable swing in goal difference to overhaul them. It appears unlikely that out-of-contract Zoltan Gera will get his swansong in a Baggies shirt against the Potters, having failed to train since suffering a hamstring injury last month. Mel said: “Zoltan Gera has not trained with the team since his injury, so it really is very difficult, almost impossible, that he will play.” However, while Wearside is celebrating now, there is also an acknowledgement that the lessons of an eventful campaign must be learned. Cattermole said: “I think there will be a day in the summer when we wake up and think, ‘That was some achievement’. “It hasn’t sunk in yet, but, as lads, we have got to thank everyone who has had to deal with the whole season. “We have stuck together and come through it. We don’t know how, but the results have been absolutely incredible. There isn’t another word. “We have pulled it off and we have got to be looking at pushing the other end of the table next year. That’s what we have got to aim to do. “It was a bit too close for anyone’s liking. We have got to learn lessons from that and improve, because when you see nights like (Wednesday) night and the Cardiff game with the place full, it means a lot.” The fightback inspired by head coach Gus Poyet has been little short of miraculous. A 1-0 home defeat by Everton on April 12 left the Black Cats at the foot of the table and seven points adrift of safety with just six games remaining. Cattermole and his team-mates woke up on Thursday morning to the realisation that they will be playing Barclays Premier League football once again next season – something which looked a remote possibility just a few weeks ago. They will do so by virtue of a remarkable series of results which has seen them take seven points from a possible nine from trips to Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United, a maximum return from Cardiff’s visit to the Stadium of Light and Wednesday night’s 2-0 home victory over West Brom. Press Association Lee Cattermole is not quite sure how Sunderland managed to dig themselves out of relegation trouble.
In a repeat of last season’s final, runners-up Atletico Madrid take on title holders Real Madrid.Two teams who knocked out Premier League opposition meet as the conquerors of Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, play Barcelona – who got the better of Manchester City.Monaco, who beat Arsenal in the last-16, have Juventus – while Porto go up against Bayern Munich. There’s no Premier league teams involved following Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City’s exits.
Former team-mates, opponents and supporters from all corners paid tribute to Karl Lacey after the Donegal great announced his retirement last night.Lacey steps away after a storied 148 appearances for Donegal that included an All-Ireland, three Ulster titles, a Player of the Year and four All-Star awards.The Donegal town man won two of his All-Stars in the lean years pre-Jim McGuinness’s management. Enjoy the family time buddy. Pleasure to share the field with you! @KarlLacey4— Rory Kavanagh (@123kav) September 1, 2017 Congrats on great career @KarlLacey4 one of the best man markers I seen. Enjoy spare time 😉👍🏼🏐— Tomás Ó Sé (@tomas5ky) August 31, 2017 What a player @KarlLacey4 was. If I got one or 2 from play on him ( not often) I was on top of my game. Enjoy the well deserved break pal.— Conor.mortimer (@Conmort) September 1, 2017 So @KarlLacey4 @niallmc14 & @SeanCavanagh14 all retire in one week. Mighty men who have inspired a new generation. You will be missed lads.— Alan O’Mara (@AOMTHECAT) August 31, 2017 Had the privilage of not only watch @KarlLacey4 play but seen him up close on the training pitch and he was quite Simply the Best. #legend— Pat Shovelin (@patshovelin1) August 31, 2017 All the best in your retirement @KarlLacey4 The best defender that I ever did face.— Paddy Bradley (@PaddyB14) August 31, 2017 Whenever Karl Lacey had the ball, charging up the field, you knew it was going to end up where it needed to be. Once in a generation player.— Niall McCauley (@Nially1988) August 31, 2017 Lucky enough to have been there to see Karl Lacey’s best days in donegal colours, up there with the very best Donegal has produced #legend— Kane Barrett (@kaneyb_14) August 31, 2017 Sad to see Karl Lacey retire – a superb footballer and a great leader – the men of 2012 were real heroes in Donegal— Sylvester Hennessy (@Slyone1069) September 1, 2017 Best of Luck to Karl Lacey on his Retirement. One of the Very Best Defenders at his Peak, that man had a Serious Serious engine pic.twitter.com/9FkpbsyW7s— Buff Egan (@buff_egan) August 31, 2017 Karl Lacey winning all stars when Donegal couldn’t win a championship game. #legend also got him at 80/1 for poty @officialdonegal thanks 👍— Noel Early (@noelearly) August 31, 2017 I was at Donegal Vs Kerry and Donegal Vs Cork in 2012 and Karl Lacey was simply astonishing both days. What a player. Best of luck to him.— David Clohessy (@CX2DAD) August 31, 2017 Karl Lacey’s displays vs Cork, Kerry and Mayo during that 2012 season were otherworldly, incredible player 👏— Ronan Mullen (@RonanReigns) August 31, 2017 ‘Quite simply the best’ – Twitter reacts as Karl Lacey retires from inter-county football was last modified: September 1st, 2017 by Chris McNultyShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalDonegal Townfour mastersJim McGuinnesskarl lacey