Gus Poyet is confident he will still be Sunderland's head coach next season amid fevered speculation over his future.
The 46-year-old Uruguayan has been linked with potential vacancies at both West Ham and Southampton in recent days, but has also found himself the subject of rumours that he could walk out of the Stadium of Light because of a power struggle behind the scenes.
However, as a remarkable season drew to a close with a 3-1 home defeat by Swansea, crucially with the Black Cats still a Premier League club, Poyet insisted he was going nowhere.
Asked if he expected to be in charge in August, he said: "Yes,'' before adding with a smile: "You are scaring me now. What do you know that I don't know?
"The rumours are natural, there are so many rumours all the time. But that means you are doing something special or you are being recognised for something, whatever it is.
"It could be the way your team plays, or it could be the achievement that you made or it could be that before, I didn't have on my CV Premier League experience, and now I do in a very difficult situation.''
Poyet, who revealed he is in talks with "three or four'' of the club's 11 out-of-contract and loan players, said he had already met owner and chairman Ellis Short to discuss the way forward, and will do so again after a short break. He was, though, adamant that there was nothing sinister about those talks.
He said: "Every single manager in the world when he finishes the season has a meeting with the chairman of the football club -- winning the league, going down, in the middle, having been named somewhere else, with contract, without contract, it's natural.
"Every now and then when a manager says, 'I need to meet with the chairman to see where we are going,' you all start to think, 'he's leaving' or 'he's not happy' or 'there's a problem,' but it's nothing.
"Yes, I want to know where we are going, if it's possible not to make the same mistakes that we have made in the last couple of years because I don't want to go through another year like this one.''
Sunderland ended the season in 14th place after a defeat in which they were up against it from the off.
Nathan Dyer fired Swansea ahead with a deft seventh-minute finish from Wayne Routledge's pass, and Marvin Emnes doubled their advantage when he span John O'Shea and blasted home with just 14 minutes gone.
Fabio Borini's 10th goal of the season five minutes after the restart gave the Black Cats hope, but Wilfried Bony ensured his side left with all three points with another fine strike.
Swans boss Garry Monk, who was taking charge of his first game since being appointed manager on a permanent basis, was delighted with a performance which ensured his side finished 12th.
He knows his honeymoon period will have ended by the time the new campaign starts, but he is relishing the opportunity to test himself once again.
Monk said: "It's been great for me, this past three-and-a-half months, or whatever it's been, has been a learning process and a taste of what is to come. But then I guess from next season, I will be judged more harshly on my own merits and every single move that I make.
"But I know that, I accept that and I'm not worried about that. It's how you have to live your life, so I am just looking forward to it. I am looking forward to being judged, being doubted. When you have got a point to prove and you have done that your whole career, there's nothing better than trying to prove people wrong.''
Monk's first task could be to attempt to keep star men like Bony and Jonjo Shelvey out of the grasp of potential suitors, although that is not something he fears.
He said: "They will be an attraction for everyone. But we are lucky, we are in a position where we don't have to sell anyone, it's up to us.''