David Moyes has confirmed he will remain in charge of Sunderland next season – no matter what division they are in.
The Scot says he will honour his four-year deal if the Mackems get relegated, even though he could be in line for the Scotland job should they crash to England in a World Cup qualifier in June.
Sunderland face a crunch week and could be well adrift of safety unless they grab a win against Watford on Saturday or Leicester on Tuesday.
And there is set to be a summer exodus from the Stadium Of Light, with up to 12 players leaving.
Income will fall by £60million in the event of relegation and Moyes will have to rebuild on a budget, like he did at Everton.
Asked if he’d remain in charge should the worst happen, Moyes said: “Yes, I’ve got a four-year contract.”
Questioned if he still had the appetite for a rebuild, he replied: “Your football enthusiasm is always there.
“I love the training, I love the games, but what you love more than anything is winning games. What drains your energy is losing. It’s not easy to speak to the media or come out and speak to the supporters.
“Winning is the thing that keeps you upbeat. If there’s anything in football management which affects you, it’s the results.
“The winning keeps your enthusiasm high.”
There has been criticism that Moyes fosters a downbeat mood but the Scot said: “I don’t see that. I’ve felt at times at the end of games we’ve been despondent but you expect that when you’ve lost.
“We’ve told the players that they’ve been in worse situations and it still turned out right. We’ve got 10 games to go and we have to do something that shows we can win those games.
“We have to get something extra out of the players between now and the end of the season.”
Moyes says Jermain Defoe has a spring in his step after his goalscoring England recall.
But Moyes, who didn’t deny that Defoe can leave on a free transfer if the Black Cats are relegated, said: “It is not just about Jermain.
“We need Jermain’s goals – but we also need people to help him to score those goals and to help create them as well.”