Manager Gus Poyet believes the Sunderland fans would take winning the Capital One Cup and him becoming "famous" over staying in the Barclays Premier League.
The Black Cats were thumped 4-1 at Arsenal on Saturday in what was hardly ideal preparation for next weekend's Wembley showdown with title-chasing Manchester City.
Although it remains tight at the bottom of the table, Sunderland find themselves in 18th place and without another chance to put their league form right until March 15 because of also reaching the sixth round of the FA Cup, where they will face either Hull or Brighton.
The Uruguayan was charged with keeping Sunderland in the top flight when he took over from Paolo Di Canio in October, and has overseen some positive results - not to mention a cup semi-final penalty shootout win at Manchester United.
However, immediate thoughts for the Wearside faithful are on securing a place in Sunderland folklore to go alongside the likes of manager Bob Stokoe, goalscorer Ian Porterfield and goalkeeper Jim Montgomery when they helped pull off a shock FA Cup final win over Leeds more than 40 years ago - a feat which is still talked about today.
"It (Premier League survival) is (more important), but don't tell the people in Sunderland," Poyet said.
"I thought it was just down to the manager to stay in the Premier League - apparently it is more important for a manager to win a cup in Sunderland because it makes you more famous, so I am learning."
Despite the manner of Sunderland's capitulation at the Emirates Stadium, Poyet feels it could serve as a valuable lesson ahead of their trip back down to north London next week.
"I tell you what - if it does not help us we are going to be in trouble, badly," he said.
"It was the perfect game to play before the final. Sometimes you come here and you play well and you think 'okay, we can go to Wembley confident - it is easy', but no.
"Sometimes a good kick in the backside at the right time is good to wake you up, but until the game next week I cannot tell you which one it is.
"It is true, though, that it changed plenty of things in my mind."