GUS POYET says he took an enormous sense of satisfaction from seeing Sunderland’s game-plan pay off against Chelsea.
Sunderland became the first side this season to prevent Premier League leaders Chelsea from finding the net after the Black Cats stretched their unbeaten run to four games with Saturday’s Stadium of Light stalemate.
It proved to be a defensive masterclass from Poyet’s men, who limited Chelsea to only one clear-cut opportunity and came closest to inflicting a first defeat since April on Jose Mourinho’s side, with the better of the second half opportunities.
Poyet said: “That is what I enjoy about this job, when you achieve what you think your players can achieve.
“Sometimes you try something and it’s a disaster, you were wrong.
“I enjoyed seeing my team enjoying defending.
“We then started to come into the game and the players that came on gave us something extra, we started to create chances.
“We were in the game all of the time and did not throw the game away. We didn’t try to be clever and just played the game in a certain way.
“It was not about me versus Jose. This was the players on the pitch.
“Chelsea did everything possible to win it – they passed the ball right, left, over the top, in the corners.
“They threw on every striker they had on the bench and tried their best.
“But we did something special. It was just a different way to get something from a game.”
Poyet spoke with ex-Chelsea team-mate Roberto Di Matteo, now in charge of German side Schalke, last week after the Bundesliga outfit were the victims of a 5-0 thrashing by Mourinho’s men.
But while Di Matteo’s attempts to halt Chelsea’s momentum backfired, Poyet concentrated on keeping tight to the opposition dangermen and that ploy paid off.
“I sat down on Tuesday to watch them in the Champions League to see if I could learn something and then they go and win 5-0 away from home,” said Poyet.
“That makes you think, ‘I didn’t learn too much’.
“It’s not easy. The simple things are that you cannot play openly against them. They are better than us.
“You cannot leave too much space to (Eden) Hazard or (Diego) Costa because they are very good and will punish you.
“It is about shape, defending, caring, discipline. Not too many teams enjoy defending like that – but against top teams you need to do that.
“We worked on it and the players were exceptional. It wasn’t easy for Chelsea to come here and find all of our players in the last part of the pitch, but that’s what you have to do.”