GUS Poyet has praised Italian international Emanuele Giaccherini’s important contribution to the great Sunderland revival of recent weeks.
And the Uruguayan hopes that the diminutive attacker will continue fulfilling, in the final eight days of the season, the potential for damage that the Black Cats boss spotted when he first arrived at the club in mid-October.
“Giacchy was always the player I was looking for to go between the lines and make the final pass,” Poyet told the Echo.
“That was the one thing that was too often missing with him – the final pass.
“But he is finding that now and that is helping make all the difference.”
Poyet is certainly right about that last observation.
In Sunderland’s last three games, seven points have been taken from Manchester City, Chelsea and Cardiff.
Against City, the 28-year-old provided assists for both Sunderland’s goals on the night, while he scored his fifth goal of the season against Cardiff before providing an assist for Connor Wickham to grab the Black Cats’ fourth goal of the game.
Poyet said: “The goal against Cardiff he scored was particularly important – it was the third goal and it was the one we needed to put the game to bed.
“We started the second half 2-0 up and Cardiff down to 10 men, but pressure situations like that can do strange things.
“Cardiff were desperate and were giving everything and, if they had got a goal back, it could have been very tense.
“But Giacchy came on and within minutes scored our third – it was the goal which helped us seal a massive result.”
Poyet has now seen the Italian World Cup hopeful unlock Premier League defences in two of Sunderland’s last three games and hopes the £6.5million signing can continue to be an ace in his squad’s attacking pack.
“He is what I call an ‘in-between’ player because he can go in between the lines and makes the final pass,” explained Poyet. “He’s an ‘in-between’ player – so you’re not asking him to go and defend, and you’re not asking him to be an out-and-out striker.
“It’s a very difficult position to play because you’re neither one nor the other and if you’re neither one nor the other then you have to make a difference – otherwise you find it hard to get a game.
“When it comes off, those sort of players are very important. They are the creators and the goalscorers and they are always the most expensive players because they are the ones that do the most difficult thing – creating and scoring goals.
“What we’ve been missing most of the season is people to create and to score and it is great that we’ve got players like Giacchy and Connor Wickham producing top form, players who are now slotting in and showing what they’re capable of doing.”