What Sunderland manager Michael Beale has just told his players about Newcastle United

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Michael Beale is preparing to face Newcastle United in the first Tyne-Wear derby for almost eight years

Michael Beale has challenged his players to prove they are Premier League quality against Newcastle United.

Sunderland begin the Tyne-Wear derby as underdogs given the Magpies’ recent Champions League foray but boast several redeeming factors on their side. Newcastle have not beaten the Black Cats since August 2011, losing their last three at the Stadium of Light.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Eddie Howe’s troops also head into battle in poor form, with December seeing their Champions League and Carabao Cup dreams crushed. Six defeats in seven games across all competitions has been poor preparation for renewing hostilities with bitter rivals Sunderland.

Ahead of the clash, the Black Cats boss urged his players to prove their top-flight quality. Sunderland sit sixth in the Championship and narrowly missed out on Premier League promotion last year.

"You prepare all the time to play against elite teams,” Beale told reporters. “We are playing against a Premier League team as a Championship team, so we need to bring the best version of ourselves.

"It's important that we feel the importance of the fans and the strength, the backing and the warmth of the fans. But, then we (need to) actually perform and play the game that is in front of us. It's a good opportunity for some of my young players that want to go and play in the Premier League, to show they are more than worthy of that."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Sunderland boss also insisted derbies are “hugely important” for English football, referencing the failed European Super League fiasco. Newcastle are set to take on their fiercest rivals for the first time in almost eight years - adding extra bite to the occasion.

"When it's derby day you want to win," Beale added. “Derbies are hugely important to the game, certainly the domestic game. When we are talking about the Super League and things like that, the fear we have as followers of the sport is that we're washing down the derbies.

"These derby games, and this draw in particular, has got to everyone's imagination, that's why the focus should only be on the two football teams, the fans on the day and all the positive things.”

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.