Sunderland's League Cup campaign has proven that they have the quality to stay up - but offers no excuses if they fail to do so.
That is the opinion of Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher who covered the issue in his Daily Mail column. He said:
A team who have beaten Manchester City and Everton in the Premier League, and knocked Manchester United and Chelsea out of the Capital One Cup, clearly have the talent to stay up.
If they fail to do that, they will only have themselves to blame because they shouldn't have any other distraction.
Sunderland fully deserve their first trip to Wembley since 1992 and they should enjoy every minute of the Capital One Cup final. In no way, though, should their progress in this competition be used as an excuse for the position they currently occupy in the Premier League table - and if they end up being relegated in May, they should not compare themselves to either Birmingham or Wigan.
Complacency - they took just nine points from the final 12 games - led to Birmingham's season unravelling. Sunderland, by contrast, will have plenty of time after the March 2 final to try to save their top-flight status.
I'm quite pleased that he has made the point about the Birmingham comparison because it has been doing my head in. Just because teams have previously reached cup finals and been relegated - Sunderland themselves have done it before - it doesn't mean there is an inescapable pattern.
In general, I think Carragher has hot every point bang on the nose. We do have the quality to stay up and if we fail to do so from this position, it would be a failure that couldn't be excused by a moral-inflating cup run.
It's also nice to see a bit of national coverage from a high-profile figure on Sunderland's achievement. I was starting to wonder if the League Cup final was going to be promoted by the nationals as 'Manchester City Vrs Not Manchester United (they lost)'. In fact, I'm still not all that convinced that it won't be.