SUNDERLAND head coach Gus Poyet received further confirmation at the weekend that the patient, passing style of football he is incubating on Wearside is starting to bear fruit.
And while he is aware it won’t set the pulses of the neutral fan racing, he also knows it will offer Sunderland’s best chance of escape from the Premier League relegation zone this season.
“I know some people say the way we play is slow,” he noted, after securing his first away point as Sunderland head coach in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Villa Park.
“I apologise for that, if you want that, but it is our way.
“We need to play and maintain the pace of the game that we want, not the way the opposition wants.
“Sometimes it is slow, but it is a step for the players – we will play quicker when we get better, when we are in a better situation.
“It is our way of playing.
“I don’t know if you can say it is good or bad, it is just a way of playing.
“But in our position it is important that we control the game as much as we can and this way helps us do that.”
Sunderland could have won Saturday’s game had the footballing fates been a little kinder.
But Poyet was glad that the solitary point was at least good enough to lift the Black Cats off the bottom of the table at the expense of Crystal Palace.
“There’s plenty of encouragement we can take from the table and from the day,” he said.
“It’s good to be off the bottom because it’s terrible when you see it and that’s where you are.
“Then I have to say getting a point away from home is a good thing and then, on top of that, no sendings off or own goals – I tell you what, for us, that’s a good game!
“I had said before the game that wanted a ‘normal’ game and I got it – so credit to the players for that.
“We could enjoy our Saturday night because of the performance and result against Villa, but on Sunday we were already looking ahead to the Chelsea game (on Wednesday night).”