GUS Poyet saw yesterday’s inspiring 1-0 win over Manchester City as a victory for the footballing philosophy he is is trying to introduce on Wearside, writes GRAEME ANDERSON.
The Uruguayan wants Sunderland to become obsessive about passing and retaining the ball – even though fans might find it dull at times, with the ball not continually going forward.
And he believes that results are convincing the players that – difficult as it may be for most; unnatural even, to some – this is the approach that might just get Sunderland out of the deep trouble they are in.
“I’m so pleased for the club that we got this win,” Poyet said.
“It’s great for us, because we need to believe – the players need to believe.
“We can say things and write things, but, at the end of the day, it is all about the players being convinced this new way of playing football is working and is the way for us to go.
“They can see now that it is working and that is great for the future.
“It is a good time for us now to go into the international break because we go into it with the players feeling good and, after the break, they can look to come back in a great frame of mind.”
Poyet credited Wes Brown as the biggest reason for Sunderland keeping a clean sheet, Ki Sung-Yeung as a key to Sunderland holding their nerve and match-winner Phil Bardsley as an example of how someone can respond when given a shot at redemption.
“You must give Phil Bardsley credit,” he said.
“I asked people to give him a second chance, but I know that thousands of people were not convinced by that.
“But when you score the winner against Man City and defend the way he did, then maybe a few more people will feel, ‘yes, I think he does deserve a second chance because he has shown how much he wants it’.
“I had a different approach to what had happened before with him. I gave him a chance to put what happened in the past behind him and he has done.
“As for Wes, maybe he was the difference between us conceding or not.
“Maybe it’s the difference of a player who has won the Premier League and the difference it made to others – that they can take inspiration from the best.
“It has been hard to leave Wes out because he has been desperate to play and, as a manager, you have to make decisions.
“We put him on the bench against Hull not expecting him to play, but we had two sendings off and he came in and did really well. Now he has played two 90-minute games and 45 minutes in a week – it is a lot – and the important thing for us now is to keep him fit.
“As for Ki, he plays the type of football that I really admire.
“He has the ability to pass the football with one touch and he can run and pass with his right foot and left.
“If he learns to do a little bit more defensively then he is going to be a great help for us.
“Ki has had to wait for his chance because Lee Cattermole was taking his position for the first few games and then football happens – Lee is out and Ki gets his chance – and the important thing is that he does what he has done, which is to take it well.”