JOZY ALTIDORE will receive a major psychological boost from breaking his Premier League duck for Sunderland, believes Gus Poyet.
Summer signing Altidore ended his four-month wait for a first Sunderland goal in the top flight when he netted the opener in Wednesday night’s 4-3 defeat to Chelsea.
Head coach Poyet, who netted 54 Premier League goals during spells at Chelsea and today’s opponents Tottenham, is well aware of the mental battle which can accompany lean streaks.
And after handing Altidore a first start in four games, Poyet hopes the American international’s goal will prompt a prolific run for the striker.
Poyet told the Echo: “I was an offensive midfielder and there are times when you score without looking at the goal. It just comes to you.
“And then there are other times when you go through a spell when you can’t score from two yards.
“Sometimes, they say it’s in your head. Probably.
“But some days, even in training, you go short and the ball goes to the back post.
“It was a big time for Jozy to score because it was a big decision by me to play him in front of (Steven) Fletcher, whose been doing fantastic.
“I hope he’s going to score plenty now.”
Altidore is likely to keep his place ahead of fellow striker Fletcher today, albeit Poyet was coy on his attacking selection.
But the Black Cats boss admits there are likely to be changes to the starting XI, with Sunderland facing their third game in a week.
Poyet said: “There are plenty of decisions to make today. On Wednesday, I made a change, with Seb (Larsson) coming in for Jack (Colback) and leaving Johnno (Adam Johnson) out.
“I needed to refresh the team in midweek and Jozy needed to play, so there are things you do for a reason.
“But I never thought about the Spurs game (when making his decision).”
Despite a draining defeat against Chelsea though, Poyet insists his players have been showing few signs of fatigue on the training ground.
“We made a massive effort, but that’s the way it’s going to be all the time,” he added.
“When you’re down at the bottom, there’s always more effort than normal.
“Training yesterday went well and everyone looks alright.
“Maybe they are in an even bigger hurry to play the game than normal, because there is that feeling that you were close against Chelsea, but not close enough, and you want another opportunity.”