Poyet pleased with Sunderland’s cruise control

El-Hadji Ba (left) looks to make an impact against Darlington 1883. Picture by Corrina Atkinson
El-Hadji Ba (left) looks to make an impact against Darlington 1883. Picture by Corrina Atkinson
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GUS Poyet expressed his delight at the way his Sunderland players cruised through their opening pre-season friendly of the summer.

The Wearsiders simply outclassed Darlington 1883 at Heritage Park on Saturday afternoon, emerging 5-1 winners at Heritage Park in Bishop Auckland.

And Poyet was pleased with the workout in which he used 22 players, who successfully negotiated the game without picking up any injuries.

“It was ideal,” said the Uruguayan.

“I know it might sound a little daft, but the idea was just to put into practice on the pitch what we have been working on in training.

“It was all about getting used to formations, it was about positioning during games, about football situations, and I was pleased with the way we went about it.

“We only really started a few days ago working on tactics. Before that it was fitness, but we are picking up on things all the time.

“We got better last year as a group and the new ones need to get it and the quicker we work on them the better for us.”

There were times during a one-sided game against a side who play their football seven leagues below the Wearsiders that the final result might resemble a cricket score.

Steven Fletcher bagged a brace and Emanuele Giaccherini, Connor Wickham and newcomer Jordi Gomez all got on the scoresheet in the 5-1 win..

But at least Darlington snatched a consolation goal near the end and, besides, the day was about finance for Darlo more than it was about final scorelines.

A sell-out crowd in the 2,000 capacity Heritage Park will do wonders for the resources of the club managed by former Sunderland midfielder Martin Gray and which has fellow ex-Rokermen Brian Atkinson and Tony Norman on the coaching staff.

Poyet said: “I’m glad that we were able to help Darlington. We have links with them which go back a long time before they changed their name and dropped down the leagues.

“We wanted to help them, but they helped us too.

“The pitch was fantastic and we picked up no injuries.”