GUS Poyet will challenge Connor Wickham to show against Chelsea tomorrow that his two-goal heroics at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday were no flash in the pan.
The 21-year-old striker scored two goals of the highest quality to take Sunderland within a whisker of a stunning victory over Manchester City on Wednesday.
And Poyet hopes he has has finally found the key to unlocking the big frontman’s undoubted potential.
“I’m pleased for Connor in how well he did against City and pleased for myself too,” said the Black Cats’ boss..
“I think it’s important he realises what he can achieve.
“I think if we play the system we played against City and it suits him and he takes confidence from it then he can benefit from it.
“For him to progress I think needs a couple of things to happen, I think it’s a combination.
“I think first we have to make sure we give him the delivery and second that he has to believe in what he does.
“We need Connor to decide that from now on he is going to be a Premier League standard player and produce consistently.”
While Wickham was buoyant on the back of his personal performance, team-mate Vito Mannone could hardly have been more downcast as he left the Etihad midweek.
The Italian had been disappointing for City’s first goal and dropped a real clanger for their second as Manuel Pellegrini’s side salvaged a 2-2 draw.
But Poyet said: “Vito was naturally very down and like any of us who have a disappointment in football, it takes a day or two to get over it.
“But I said to him what I often say to the players, which is that we are a football team, a group of players working together, and when we celebrate, we celebrate together because we have all achieved something.
“Vito was fantastic saving the penalties in the Capital One Cup semi-final at Old Trafford but when we won it wasn’t only because of him it was because of the team.
“And when we didn’t win against Man City, yes Vito was down that he didn’t save their equaliser, but he made other saves and we had other chances to score in the game - so it’s all about the team.
“As a team we must try to support and help each other.
“It was a moment in the game like so many other moments this season that have just gone against us but we have to move on quickly.”
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