Gus Poyet has spoken of his relief that his Sunderland side can concentrate on a relegation battle now that their cup runs have ended.
The Wearside outfit were dumped out of the FA Cup at the quarter-final stage by Hull City last weekend just a week after losing the League Cup final against Manchester City.
Sunderland now turn their attention to a crunch Premier League clash with fellow strugglers Crystal Palace on Saturday and head coach Poyet has warned his players that there are no distractions now as they strive to avoid the drop.
The former Brighton and Hove Albion manager said: "It's a relief to have that sorted in certain ways.
"I was a fan when I was young and I went to the stadium and wanted to see my favourite player on the pitch and I would blame the manager when he didn't play him. We all do that.
"We are all managers and we are all fans. You don't realise at that time what is going on behind the scenes.
"How long it took for someone to sort out the tickets for the final for example, you would not believe. You give players and staff a certain amount of tickets but sooner or later you know they are going to come and ask for more and then somebody else does and you never finish.
"How can you control that and sort everything else out as well? It's impossible.
"Even on the day before. Now there is nothing, no distractions. There is no Wembley, no tickets, no summer, no pre-season. It's only me they know is preparing things and we have to concentrate on winning football games.
"That is perfection. That's what we all want and I think that's one of the best things about being in England.
"They don't have to talk to the press every two days like in other countries. They have nothing to worry about apart from sleeping well, eating well, training well and be ready to give their maximum.
"It's impossible to ask them to win every game, but just to give their maximum. Everything is in place for them to do that."
Poyet will have a fully fit squad to select from when Tony Pulis' side travel to the Stadium of Light.
|Everton 1 Lyon 2: Koeman feeling the heat, while Williams brawl overshadows spectacle|
|AC Milan 0 AEK Athens 0: Frustration mounts for Montella in dour draw|
|Giroud promised special winner, Wenger reveals|
|Former Croatia striker Klasnic undergoes third kidney operation|
|Red Star Belgrade 0 Arsenal 1: Giroud´s special winner lights up drab encounter|
|Shakespeare: Leicester will ´pull away´ from Premier League danger|
|Robben yet to hold talks over new Bayern Munich contract|
|Bilic denies West Ham have discipline problem|
|Benteke progressing ´ahead of schedule´|
|Ancelotti to Leicester unlikely, says Clement|
|Dyche not aware of any approach amid Leicester speculation|
|I love you, take my watch! – How Arnautovic earned a special gift from Mourinho|
|´Surprised´ Appleton calls for Foxes focus after Shakespeare sacking|
|Brighton boss Hughton feels ´unacceptable´ behaviour remains in football|
|Benzema ´very happy´ at Real Madrid amid Arsenal rumours|
|Azpilicueta admits to low mood in Chelsea camp|
|Bacca: I played for the worst AC Milan in history|
|Aluko ´100 per cent´ in England contention, says interim boss|
|Injured Napoli striker Milik hints at loan move|
|Dortmund not expecting Reus exit|
|Neymar plans to emulate Messi by mentoring Mbappe|
|Mourinho still unclear on fitness of Pogba and Fellaini|
|Heynckes happy with Muller form|
|Kane describes Ronaldo as ´role model´ following shirt swap|
|PSG star Mbappe: Monaco need time|
|I have full support of Everton board, claims Koeman|
|Wilshere: Arsenal´s character can´t be questioned|
|No-one can compete with Messi – Bartomeu|
|Man United risk losing identity under Mourinho – Bellamy|
|Valverde hopes Messi scores 200th European goal this season|
|Stop worrying about Chelsea – Conte hits back at Mourinho|
|Roma better than Chelsea, says Nainggolan|
|Basel coach Wicky demands more focus|
|Heynckes calls for patience from Bayern´s reserve stars|
|Emery calls for PSG improvement despite perfect start|
|Pique handball instinctive, says Barcelona boss Valverde|
|Dzeko was born to score – Di Francesco|
|Lemonis rues Olympiacos collapse against 10-man Barca|
|Rodgers: Individual class inhibiting Celtic|
|David Luiz experiment failed, admits Conte|
|Allegri not impressed despite crucial win|
|Svilar risks a lot – Mourinho was aware of Benfica youngster´s shortcomings|
|We played better against Atletico – Hazard|
|Job done for Mbappe and PSG after another big win|
|Simeone maintains ´absolute´ belief in Atletico despite Qarabag draw|
|CSKA Moscow 0 Basel 2: Xhaka, Oberlin do the damage|
|Juventus 2 Sporting CP 1: Late Mandzukic intervention saves wasteful Bianconeri|
|Bayern Munich 3 Celtic 0: Hoops outclassed on Heynckes´ return to Europe|
|Chelsea 3 Roma 3: Hazard brace rescues Conte´s men after Dzeko double|
|Anderlecht 0 Paris Saint-Germain 4: Mbappe takes one record as Cavani closes on another|
|Barcelona 3 Olympiacos 1:Ton-up for Messi as Pique sees red|
|Benfica 0 Manchester United 1: Rashford goal settles poor game after woeful Svilar error|
|Messi joins Ronaldo in European 100-goal club|
|Good results are on the way in the league - Salah|
|Algeria restore Madjer to the helm|
|Griezmann eyes qualification despite Atleti´s Qarabag stumble|
|FA chief Glenn denies Aluko´s ´bordering on blackmail´ claim|
|Mbappe surpasses Kluivert as Champions League´s highest-scoring teenager|
|Ozil is a warrior - Pires sympathises with Arsenal star|
|Benfica teen Svilar breaks Casillas´ Champions League record against Man Utd|
|Balotelli can improve even more - Favre|
|It was special to face role model Modric, says Winks|
|Robben named for Champions League century|
|You can´t question Arsenal´s character - Wenger hits back at Deeney|
|Qarabag 0 Atletico Madrid 0: Simeone´s side in trouble after shock draw|
|Guardiola´s Catalonia stance dismissed by Spanish minister|
|Oldham appoint Wellens over Scholes, Seedorf|
|FA apologises over Sampson remarks to Aluko and Spence|
|Montella willing to accept ´exaggerated´ Milan criticism|
|Napoli confirm Insigne adductor strain|
|Urawa Reds 1 Shanghai SIPG 0 (2-1 agg): Rafael Silva books Al Hilal decider|
|Not a tragedy if Italy miss World Cup, says Zola|
|Hummels: Bayern players contributed to Ancelotti´s sacking|
|Dzeko considers Chelsea among Champions League contenders|
|Cavani doesn´t need to be friends with Neymar|
|Ozil and Sanchez committed to Arsenal, Mertesacker claims|
|Don´t stress it - De Bruyne relaxed over initial Man City contract talks|
|Nagelsmann´s path will lead to Bayern, says Heynckes|
|Stones satisfied with strong Manchester City showing|
|Redknapp: Spurs boss Pochettino could manage Real Madrid|
|That will be hard to beat – Klopp revels in record win|
|Spurs showed they can compete with elite - Pochettino proud after Madrid draw|
|Ballon d´Or? We all know Messi is best, says Valverde|
|He´s getting better – Zidane backs Benzema|
|Napoli star Insigne unsure if he´ll be fit to face Inter|
|Manchester City can win Champions League, says Napoli boss Sarri|
|Berizzo plotting Sevilla´s revenge after Spartak Moscow humiliation|
|Porto boss Conceicao defends Casillas omission|
|We know it´s difficult now, admits Dortmund boss Bosz|
|It´s tough but it´s not over - Van Bronckhorst|
|Monaco know it will be difficult to qualify now, says Sidibe|
|I don´t know what happened - Sarri bemused by Napoli´s slow start|
|We are growing consistently, insists upbeat Zidane|