GUS Poyet played it down – it was casualness itself the way he described it – but there’s no doubting the significance of the meeting he is due to have with chairman Ellis Short next week.
It may well define the immediate future of Sunderland Football Club.
Understandably, the Uruguayan was ultra-sensitive about chairman-head coach meetings – fully aware that every move is being meticulously scrutinised in the wake of the media frenzy hyped up in London about West Ham’s potential move for his services.
For that reason, he explained slowly and carefully in his post-match Press conference: “I would like to inform everyone in the media that at the end of the season every single manager goes to see his chairman.
“It is not unusual.
“Actually, I had a meeting before the game with the chairman. I saw him already, and he was very happy.”
He was trying to make clear the fact that there were no crisis talks taking place, no mention of a move to West Ham, or any other club for that matter.
That was fair enough.
But the indications are that impending meeting is the one to keep an eye on.
In a move which makes sense, all concerned see the wisdom of taking a step back after a long and emotional season before coming together again to discuss what the future might hold.
But the bottom line is that Poyet wants to know how ambitious Sunderland are prepared to be.
The former Brighton manager said: “I want to see the chairman to see if we can avoid making the same mistakes we made over the last few years – we brought 14 players last season, we have 11 out of contract, we have others going back to their parent club, so there’s much to do.
“Pre-season is done and arranged, which is a great relief and we have talked to all the out-of-contract players – we know where we stand.
“So the plan is to come back and see him again next week when everyone is more rested to see what we do.
“We will talk about what the next challenge is.
“Some clubs start the season looking to finish between 12th and 17th.
“What do we want?
“Normally, you ask what the chairman wants and then you go with the challenge.”
Poyet’s implication seemed clear – he had carried out Short’s order for this season: stay up; now he wants to know what the chairman realistically seeks for next season.
As far as the head coach himself is concerned, Sunderland should not be a club that sets its sights no higher than the survival he has just engineered.
“We are over 40,000 people here every week,” he pointed out.
“And if you give them a little bit more – it is packed out – so I consider this a big club.”
It will be an interesting meeting.