Poyet: Cattermole substitution was better for the team

Ji Dong-won, recalled yesterday, battles against Aston Villa. Picture by Peter Berry
Ji Dong-won, recalled yesterday, battles against Aston Villa. Picture by Peter Berry
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REPORTERS on the Sunderland beat have got used to Gus Poyet’s downbeat demeanour in the wake of a poor performance

He is the first to admit that he hates losing.

He takes defeats badly, and he takes bad defeats very badly.

Yesterday’s game against Aston Villa the Stadium of Light was a bad defeat.

And in a clipped, brief, post-match Press conference, Poyet knew he needed to keep his thoughts and emotions under control.

“It was not a good day for me and I need to be very, very careful what I say because it could bring consequences,” he told journalists.

“Because of that, I’m going to say little or nothing – I’m sorry about that, but it’s for the best.

“I’m prepared to be very short with my interview today.

“I’m disappointed with the game and the result – I didn’t expect it.”

The implication was clear: he did not want to do a “Paolo”; he did not want to lace into his players because he was frustrated at their shortcomings – he knew that would be counter-productive.

And yet the temptation must have been there.

The turmoil in the dressing room was hinted at by the way that skipper Lee Cattermole – who endured a torrid first half – did not emerge after the break.

Normally, the captain would have been the perfect pick for a second half where Sunderland needed to be up for the fight, but the head coach was concerned that his return could have been counter-productive.

He explained: “After Lee’s unfortunate mistake, it was very difficult for him and for the players to maintain a good relationship with the fans.

“And I thought it was better for the whole team and the whole of the fans and the stadium and the atmosphere, to leave him out in the second half.

“I left him out not for the mistake but because it was better for the team.

“It was a difficult situation for us.

“It was tough to take because in the Premier League you have to take your chances when you start well, because you never know what is going to happen.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t take our chances, and when the mistake came, it was us who made it.

“Then there is too much tension, too much nerves and too much making the wrong decisions.”

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