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Published: 11:07 | 11/5/16

Allardyce wants relegation battle ended

Calls for squad to secure PL status with win

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce has urged his team to secure their Premier League status for another season with victory over Everton at the Stadium of Light tonight.

A win will be enough to see the Wearsiders saved from relegation for another season following a good run of results, with Newcastle and Norwich set to join Aston Villa in the Championship next season.

Everton have suffered a dismal end to their campaign which has seen increased pressure on manager Roberto Martinez, but Allardyce has warned his players not to be complacent and risk leaving their Premier League future undecided heading into the final round of matches on Sunday.

"We want to be fully focused to make sure we provide another outstanding performance to try to get the victory against Everton," he said.

"I hope there's not a feeling out there that this game is a foregone conclusion - it will be anything but that.

"Everton have been criticised for their performance against Leicester and I think that will get a reaction from the players and Roberto here. I think we will see Everton trying their very, very best to spoil our evening.

"I would like the players to try their very best to take the first opportunity to finish it off.

"We have slipped up in the time I have been here to being close to getting out of the bottom three before and staying out.

"We have only lost one in nine matches so our performance indicators are good but, again, with such a big pressure game, on the day, it's will we be able to handle the pressure? Will we be able to deliver a performance at the highest level we can?"

Martinez, meanwhile, is keen to put the weekend defeat to Leicester behind him and says his players are ready to respond.

"The reaction has been clear since the final whistle (against Leicester) and we all have a strong desire to get back to our best level and (at Sunderland) is the opportunity we have to show that," he said.

"It's a huge, huge game - not just because of what Sunderland are playing for.

"I think the integrity of the Premier League has always been the strongest of any league that you're going to see in Europe, and from our point of view it's about reacting from our performance against Leicester. Nothing else."

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