SUNDERLAND’S players all need to be on the same wavelength if the Black Cats are to put together a relegation-saving run of results.
That’s the view of Gus Poyet as he looks to give Sunderland renewed hope in the battle against the drop when Manchester City visit the Stadium of Light on Sunday after the dejection of last weekend’s defeat at Hull City.
Second-bottom Sunderland’s failure to build on their derby triumph by getting anything at the KC Stadium last Saturday immediately brought back a sense of dejection among supporters over the club’s plight and the uphill battle to avoid relegation.
Head coach Poyet realises that Sunderland need to put together a succession of positive results if they are to achieve their ambition of remaining in the Premier League for an eighth successive campaign.
And the Uruguayan believes the way to do that is if his players can all grasp the possession-based philosophy he is trying to establish at the Stadium of Light.
Poyet told the Echo: “We need to win games, somehow.
“We need to understand that if we are all playing the same game and everyone on the pitch understands the way we play, we are in a much better position to win.
“That doesn’t matter what game it is – playing on the break or higher up the pitch.
“The way that we play needs to be clear and the players need to take it on board and play it constantly.”
Poyet believes supporters must also get on board with his brand of football.
There were murmurs of discontent on the terraces during the first half of Wednesday’s Capital One Cup victory over Southampton as Sunderland played the ball calmly across the back, rather than going for the jugular.
But Poyet says Sunderland need to try a change in style after embarking upon a third successive season of battling relegation.
“At the beginning (on Wednesday) people were nervous, but they have to stay calm,” added Poyet.
“It’s a different way of playing, but a very important way.
“Whatever style has been used here for the last two years has not worked well because the club has just done enough to not be relegated.
“I know the fans want us to come out flying and score in the first five minutes of the game, but that is not going to happen.
“We have the players here to pass the ball and retain possession and that is what I am wanting them to do.
“So please believe, it’s important.
“I think the players realise now they can pass the ball and be calm.
“Winning was important against Southampton, but more important was how we did it.
“We need everyone’s patience because the players are playing a different way.
“I want the team to learn to be calmer, to pass the ball better.
“It is going to take time to get this way of football going but trust me, the fans will like it in the end.”