GUS POYET has backed Louis van Gaal’s 3-5-2 formation to ultimately be successful at Manchester United.
New United boss van Gaal began his reign with the three-at-the-back system which took Holland to the World Cup semi-finals during the summer.
But it was a losing start for the Dutchman after United succumbed against Swansea last weekend, with Sunderland looking to deepen their troubles at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.
However, Van Gaal was without first-choice wing-backs – Antonio Valencia and £27million new signing Luke Shaw, who both remain sidelined this weekend – and Poyet believes that pair will make a big difference over the course of the campaign.
Poyet, who experimented with three central defenders for three games last season, said: “It (the system) worked very well for them during the pre-season.
“It was one game and I would like to think it was more about the wide players he had available than the system itself.
“Valencia was not there and Luke Shaw is not fit yet.
“If he’s convinced – and I can tell you that’s the character of Louis van Gaal – he’s going to make sure it works.
“If that happens soon, it will be very difficult to play against Man United.”
Poyet hopes to take advantage of United’s teething problems and continue Sunderland’s recent results against the Premier League heavyweights.
Sunderland took seven points from their trips to Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United at the tail end of last season to secure a remarkable escape from the drop.
And the Black Cats also beat Chelsea and triumphed over two legs against United in their run to the Capital One Cup final.
Head coach Poyet added: “We want to maintain our record against the top teams.
“I’m really looking forward to the game and see how we play against one of the top teams.”