By Tom Hayward
Feb 15 (Reuters) - Sunderland Manager Gus Poyet admits he is at a loss to explain why they cannot transfer their impressive cup performances to the Premier League.
The Black Cats reached the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 1-0 win at home to Southampton on Saturday, having already booked a League Cup final place against Manchester City on March 2, but they are still struggling for consistency in the league.
Sunderland remain in the relegation zone on goal difference having lost two and drawn one of their last six league games.
"I still don't understand why we win in the Cup (competitions) and we cannot win in the League," Poyet was quoted as saying on www.thefa.com.
"I'm trying to find the answer but I cannot. Are we a cup team? It looks like it."
While their cup run has won them many plaudits, it could be a hindrance in Sunderland's quest for top flight survival.
"I would prefer to stay in the Premier League but if we win the (the League) Cup I'll be jumping up and down and celebrating with the fans," added Poyet.
Sunderland, who beat Manchester United in the League Cup semi-final on penalties, will be huge underdogs against City at Wembley but Poyet believes his side could lift the trophy.
"It's difficult to say (whether Sunderland can win a Cup double), but if you get to the final you have a chance."
Poyet made nine changes to his starting lineup against Southampton, no doubt with league survival and Wembley in mind, and said the players selected had given him food for thought.
"It's a good day for me because a few players really put themselves in the frame (to start). Plenty of energy, we cared about the ball, we tried to do the right things. Overall it was a good performance and a good day for us."
"We will see who the (FA Cup) draw brings and who knows what is going to happen? We'll just keep going," he added before the quarter-final pairings are made on Sunday at 1530GMT. (Reporting by Tom Hayward; Editing by Ken Ferris)