Poyet’s got the axe factor – with a personal touch

Steven Fletcher celebrates scoring against Stoke. Picture by Kevin Brady
Steven Fletcher celebrates scoring against Stoke. Picture by Kevin Brady
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GUS POYET insists he personally breaks the news to his players when they are the victim of the chop.

Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher proved a point to Poyet with a brace in Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Stoke City – three weeks after being left entirely out of the matchday squad by the Black Cats boss.

Poyet has been pleased with Fletcher’s reaction on the training ground to being dropped, despite the Scottish international inevitably being unhappy with the decision.

But the head coach believes that explaining the reasons behind his selection policy helps to prevent any animosity developing.

Poyet said: “I talk to players because I’ve been an assistant manager and been in that situation many times.

“I didn’t like it, so I’m not going to send my assistant manager to do it!

“I give the good news and the bad news. That’s the way I believe it should be done.

“Then I can explain the reasons and then every player can accept it in the best way they can.

“He (Fletcher) wasn’t happy, professionally. He was naturally serious for a few days because he didn’t like it.

“But there were no problems, no complaints, just a professional player not being happy because he wants to play.

“I knew he would do everything possible to prove me wrong. He’s a good character and a strong character.

“And when you have a chance – do it. Then the manager can’t say a word.

“Who is the first one to be picked in two weeks’ time? It’s Fletcher, because he scored two.

“It’s not difficult. I’m not going to leave him out now he’s scored two.

“I think that’s good for us and clear for the players as well.”

Fletcher had drawn a blank after starting the opening three league games of the campaign, but Poyet insists he wasn’t withdrawn to provoke a reaction. “I didn’t do it for that reason,” he added.

“But I needed to change something.

“I’m not the type of manager who just sits and accept that we’re going to win a game.

“You cannot just play your best players and just wait.

“I always try to think how I can help.

“On Saturday, I made quite a strong decision and it worked out, so I think the good thing for the team is that I’m always looking to win football games somehow.

“It’s not personal or individual tactical situations, it’s for the team.

“We needed that presence in the box and that hunger from players who wanted to score.

“And they did it on Saturday.”