Sunderland boss down to fine tuning

Connor Wickham in action against Udinese
Connor Wickham in action against Udinese
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SUNDERLAND will fine-tune their preparations for the Premier League this week, with Gus Poyet ensuring the club’s new signings are up to speed with his game-plan.

The Black Cats concluded a pre-season programme - which has seen just one defeat and two goals conceded in eight games - with a 2-0 victory over Italian outfit Udinese on Saturday.

Poyet will not introduce any drastic changes on the training ground this week, with the head coach using the time before Saturday’s trip to West Brom to put his squad through a refresher course.

But Poyet will particularly work with new signings Jack Rodwell and Santiago Vergini, plus any further arrivals, so they are fully aware of Sunderland’s strategy.

“We’ve worked as much as we could on certain things,” said Poyet.

“It’s obvious that we’ll have to repeat a few things this week. For example, Jack Rodwell has only trained with us once so far.

“We’ll have him in there every day this week, paying attention, learning and knowing what we want to do.

“We know what he can bring and we want to make sure we see that.

“It’s going to be the same for any other players who arrive.

“With Santi it’s better. He knows, he’s been here.

“We know what he’s going to bring and everyone is comfortable with him as well, which is fantastic.

“The idea is to work hard with the players we’ve got and make sure we’re ready for next weekend.”

Poyet had planned to use Thursday’s clash against Real Betis, along with the Udinese encounter, to give every member of his first-team squad 90 minutes.

With Sunderland still short on numbers and several players on the sidelines with injuries, that has not been possible, yet Poyet was philosophical over having to change his plans.

“My idea was to be as close as possible to the full squad,” he added.

“I wanted most of the players to play 90 minutes in one of the two games.

“But we are not, so these two games we couldn’t really achieve that.

“We adapt though. That’s something we need to do all the time.”