Cuellar to suspend friendships on return to Aston Villa with Sunderland

The Black Cats defender enjoyed a successful spell in the Midlands and admits that he is still fond of the club ahead of the meeting of his current and former sides on Monday
Sunderland defender Carlos Cuellar says that his friendships with players and staff at Aston Villa will be put on hold when the two sides meet at Villa Park on Monday night.


The centre-back enjoyed a four-year spell in the Midlands after joining the club from Rangers and still has regular contact with members of his former side's dressing room.

Villa are in desperate need of all three points as they look to pull clear of the Premier League relegation zone but Cuellar says that he will not be taking it easy, with Sunderland's own safety still not secure.

"We have to look after ourselves," the Spaniard told the Black Cats' official website. "We need to win and carry on to the best finish possible.

"I hope we are going to win on Monday. Afterwards I wish Villa all the best to win their last three games.

"It's going to be strange, as it was when I played my first game against them [earlier in the season]. I am playing against friends with whom I trained and worked so hard for four years. It will be emotional to play there but I am ready for that and very excited."

The former Osasuna man was a cult figure amongst the fans at Villa after making 123 appearances during his time with the club and admits that he has been sharing a few jokes with his former team-mates.

16/1 Carlos Cuellar is 16/1 with Bet365 to score against Aston Villa
"I keep in touch with a lot of them and there have been some texts during the week," he added. "They have been telling me to make sure I don't go in the wrong dressing room!

"I'm looking forward to going back. I had four years [at Villa] and they supported me every single day."

Sunderland have won three of the four games that Paolo Di Canio has overseen since succeededing Martin O'Neill in the managerial hotseat and Cuellar says that morale is soaring at Stadium of Light as they look to make it four wins in a row.

"The confidence of the team is so high. If we play with the same dedication, confidence and courage as we have during the last three games, we will be hard to beat," he enthused. "The look of the team is strong and if we play the same we can finish well in the league."