GUS POYET sympathised with Sebastian Coates after a tough Premier League debut in red and white for the on-loan Liverpool man.
Coates endured a galling bow in last night’s 4-1 defeat to Manchester City after the centre-half’s lack of match fitness was exposed ruthlessly by the Premier League’s top scorer Sergio Aguero.
A knock suffered by Wes Brown in Saturday’s draw against Chelsea, coupled with Coates’ ineligibility for this weekend’s trip to Liverpool, prompted Poyet to turn to his fellow Uruguayan.
But after Coates had previously played just 45 minutes of competitive football this season – following an injury-hit campaign last year – it was a tough return to action for the 24-year-old, who has just recovered from two months on the sidelines with a thigh problem.
Sunderland boss Poyet said: “I’m sure that Sebber is not going to be happy with me.
“He was coming back from injury. Wes didn’t train for two days.
“We need him (Wes) for Saturday because Sebber is not available and I made the decision not to take a risk and make sure there was a centre-half on Saturday.”
While Coates showed signs of evident rust, Aguero was exceptional with the Argentine netting a brace and setting up Stevan Jovetic for City’s second.
Poyet admitted that the Argentine – who netted a sensational Champions League hat-trick against Bayern Munich last month – is one of the best players in the world right now.
“I think to mark Aguero you need to be fit, very good, aware, concentrate, aggressive, pace, sometimes have cover behind,” said Poyet.
“You need to be spot-on. Even then, he can find a way to complicate you.
“We didn’t defend well, didn’t cover each other, were not spot-on.
“Credit to that kind of play. He’s unique.
“At this moment of time, he’s one of the top two or three in-form strikers.
“He’s performing week-in, week-out away or at home against everyone.
“It could be us or Bayern Munich. That shows how good he is.”
Meanwhile, Poyet confirmed that winger Adam Johnson missed the clash against his former club with a knock suffered against Chelsea.
Johnson has not been able to train since the weekend, although he could be in contention for the trip to Anfield.
Poyet added: “Adam got a muscle problem at the end of the game the other day.
“He was very close, but it wasn’t enough to play this kind of game.”