GUS POYET insists there is room for Sunderland’s formation to evolve, despite being a firm advocate of 4-3-3 at former club Brighton.
Caretaker boss Kevin Ball discarded Paolo Di Canio’s faith in an orthodox 4-4-2 during his two games in charge by installing an extra man in the middle of midfield.
And that strategy is likely to remain under new Sunderland head coach Poyet, with the Uruguayan deploying three central midfielders at Brighton after stumbling upon it successfully midway through his opening season with the Seagulls.
But the Uruguayan says he must keep an open mind over Sunderland’s system; citing the example of joint Premier League leaders Liverpool, who have altered their set-up to incorporate the return of striker Luis Suarez.
Poyet told the Echo: “It’s a process.
“I started with a 4-4-2 at Brighton, which I was convinced by. I love the 4-4-2.
“But you need to have the players nowadays to understand that system.
“One day, by accident, we were playing Leeds away and we were not doing well.
“We went for 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 – call it whatever you like – and we were absolutely fantastic. We got a result.
“Then we said ‘why don’t we leave it for next Saturday?’. Then we started winning and winning and winning.
“Then we brought in the players to play that system, which is the key.
“Then it became our system, but not because I chose it. The process here might be completely the opposite.
“I heard the other day Brendan Rodgers (Liverpool manager) say something very intelligent.
“To play the two strikers up front, he had to change to a back three.”
Poyet insists he has inherited a squad with the flexibility to play in a variety of formations.
And he will spend the next week considering how best to deploy the side for the opening game of his reign at Swansea tomorrow week.
“To pick a system and then try it is the way to do it,” he added.
“I think there’s plenty of different type of players here. You’ve got everything – speed, ability, strength, young players and different options everywhere on the pitch.
“I need to make sure that with the way we set up how we want to play, I pick the right one.”