GUS POYET is expected to be unveiled at a press conference this afternoon after being confirmed as Sunderland’s new head coach.
Poyet has agreed a two-year deal with the Black Cats to bring an end to the two-week search for a successor to the sacked Paolo Di Canio.
Sunderland owner Ellis Short had indicated prior to Saturday’s defeat to Manchester United that he was still uncertain over who would replace Di Canio at the helm.
But after holding further talks with Poyet over the weekend, Short decided that he was the man to keep Sunderland in the Premier League, with the Uruguayan bringing in coaches Mauricio Taricco and Charlie Oatway, who worked with him at Brighton.
Poyet, who travelled up to the North East yesterday, has been the firm front-runner for the position since Roberto Di Matteo made it clear early in the race to be Di Canio’s successor that he was not interested in the role.
Sunderland director of football Roberto De Fanti was keen on Poyet, while Short is also a long-term admirer of the 45-year-old, who was firmly in the running to succeed Martin O’Neill when Di Canio was appointed last March.
Short said: “We analysed a wide range of candidates and believe that Gus’s track record, experience, commitment and passion make him the right man to take us forward.”
“We welcome him to Sunderland.”
Poyet publicly made it clear two weeks ago that he was eager to become Sunderland boss, with the former Brighton boss contacting his fellow contenders to gauge their interest.
But Sunderland took their time in considering the available options to succeed Di Canio and performed due diligence on Poyet, who left Brighton in acrimonious fashion at the end of last season after almost four years at the helm.
He will now be charged with staving off the threat of relegation, with Sunderland lying at the foot of the Premier League table after a solitary point from the opening seven games.
Poyet has never managed in the Premier League before, albeit he had a spell as assistant to Juande Ramos at Tottenham.
But as the former Chelsea midfielder said last month, he believes he merits an opportunity in the top flight after winning 86 of 194 games at Brighton.
“If one day you coach in the Premier League without having previously managed and it’s your first job and it doesn’t go well, generally they accuse you of not having worked at the lower level and taken the right steps required to reach the top,” he said.
“But it has to be one way or the other.
“It can’t be that when you have taken all the steps – been assistant to different managers, been manager yourself and improved year after year in the team you were with, that you can’t then have a chance at a higher level.
“That is illogical.”