Poyet grateful for Ball’s Sunderland knowledge

Sunderland's Kevin Ball.
Sunderland's Kevin Ball.
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GUS POYET says former caretaker boss Kevin Ball will play a vital role in bringing him up to speed with Sunderland’s squad.

Ball, who has now returned to his role as Under-21 coach, was a rival to Poyet in the race to become the new Sunderland head coach after the ex-Black Cats skipper made no secret of his desire to manage the club on a permanent basis.

Yet Poyet insists he was still hoping for the Black Cats to pick up points during Ball’s stewardship to strengthen Sunderland’s position in the survival battle.

The Uruguayan held a brief meeting with Ball prior to training yesterday and will continue to seek the counsel of the ex-Sunderland skipper during his early days in the job.

Poyet said: “He’s been excellent with me and I will need him to help me a lot.

“He (Kevin) doesn’t know yet how important he is going to be for me. It is clear you need someone with the qualities Kevin has so I am going to count on him a lot.

“People think that my only chances of getting the job were if we lost (against Liverpool and Manchester United). But that was not the case.

“Back home, I was supporting Sunderland. I was hoping for them to get three points because it’s better to start with four points than one.

“If it wasn’t me, then it wasn’t me. But at the end of the day, you want to be in the best position. Unfortunately it didn’t happen.

“You couldn’t fault the commitment of the players with the help of Kevin Ball.”

Poyet took training at the Academy of Light yesterday for the first time, but had a depleted squad at his disposal, with eight players away on international duty.

Skipper John O’Shea will then head out on Republic of Ireland duty at the weekend, with the 32-year-old suspended for Friday’s World Cup qualifier in Germany.

But Poyet knows from experience that those playing for their countries will quickly discover about his plans for the Black Cats.

“Players talk to each other a lot and they become friends,” added Poyet.

“I’m sure they’ll have gone home yesterday and called the ones who are on international duty and told them what they think about me and the staff.

“The sooner they start passing on information and talking about it, then for me that’s good.

“The players will already know something (when they get back) and we can increase that information every day.”