GUS POYET is ready to re-introduce Emanuele Giaccherini and Ki Sung-Yeung tonight to improve Sunderland’s ball retention.
The two summer signings have made a limited contribution under Poyet so far, with Italian international Giaccherini not appearing since the head coach’s first game in charge at Swansea and Ki restricted to a 20-minute run-out in the Wear-Tyne derby.
But after seeing Sunderland repeatedly squander possession cheaply in the first half of Saturday’s defeat at Hull, Poyet wants his side to be more careful with the ball at their feet.
That is likely to see creative pair Ki and Giaccherini handed opportunities in tonight’s Stadium of Light Capital One Cup clash against Southampton, as the Black Cats look to a secure a quarter final tie with Poyet’s former club Chelsea.
Poyet told the Echo: “It was very difficult to pick them both against Newcastle for obvious reasons because I knew the type of game that was coming.
“But now they are going to have a great chance; an unbelievable chance.
“I can’t really compare it with Vito Mannone’s. It was not the perfect scenario for him to make his debut in the league at Hull when we were nine versus 11. But you know, I say take those opportunities.
“If you lose 1-0 or 3-0, it’s a difference depending on how much you help us.”
The Uruguayan added: “Giving the ball away was one of the most worrying parts (at Hull). Sooner or later, I want to see this team caring about the ball a lot more.
“I hope it’s soon, because if not, it’s going to be very difficult.
“When you lose the ball too cheaply constantly, you are defending. Imagine if you keep giving it away to the top teams, like Manchester City (Sunday’s opponents).
“So we need to be a bit better and that’s a combination of formation, shape and the players on the pitch.”
Ki and Giaccherini could be among several changes for the hosts, with Lee Cattermole and Andrea Dossena both beginning three-match suspensions, while goalkeeper Keiren Westwood is unlikely to be risked after coming off injured at the KC Stadium.
And Poyet says those who are given an opportunity must look to take it ahead of this weekend’s visit of Man City, as he looks to find a winning combination for the Black Cats.
“We’ve already got two players out suspended and Westy is 50-50 which would be another one,” added Poyet.
“So there’s already three new players in the starting line-up.
“How many more will depend on how much the players deserve to play. Plus, there’s one or two who need a rest after their second half efforts at Hull were outstanding.
“There’s a few that I feel deserve to have a chance.
“I’m looking to the future too, if possible. Can we play these players together?”