Sam Allardyce has hailed Sunderland’s survival as “pretty miraculous” as they head into next season.
Sunderland drew 2-2 with Watford on Sunday to bring to an end a tumultuous Premier League campaign, in which their safety was only confirmed during the week.
Allardyce made nine changes to the starting line-up that beat Everton on Wednesday and handed debuts to Tom Robson and Rees Greenwood.
Sunderland could have taken all three points too, after Duncan Watmore and Dame N’Doye both had goals ruled out for offside when replays suggested they were level.
“If we had needed three points and only got one, we would be in serious trouble with the officials not giving us the onside goals,” Allardyce said.
“Thankfully those major decisions which we have no control over did not affect our status.”
The draw means Sunderland finish 17th in the table, having lost only one of their last 11 league matches.
“The confidence will go into next season. All the players can come back with a spring in their step,” Allardyce said.
“We averaged two points per game over the last six games, that is top six stuff in the league.
“To think we had 12 points in six games, and only finished fourth from bottom, is a pretty miraculous total. Like next season, let’s get 12 points in the first six games, not the last.”