GUS Poyet is welcoming Sunderland’s two consecutive cup ties as a chance to put the club back on track, after admitting he was as disappointed by the Black Cats’ New Year’s Day defeat to Aston Villa as he has been by any result in his time in charge at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland take on Carlisle in the FA Cup third round tomorrow, followed by a Capital One Cup semi-final against Manchester United on Tuesday – games which have added to the burden of an already demanding fixture list.
But Poyet says he and his players have to use the ties to lift the mood around the Stadium of Light and produce positives to take forward into the rest of the campaign.
“The cup games will be no bad thing, provided we do well in them,” he told the Echo.
“It is important that we win, because things were very down after the Aston Villa game.
“We had gone five games unbeaten going into the Villa game and now it has to be our aim to do the same again – even if it is five unbeaten in all competitions.
“We need to do that to give ourselves confidence – if we did that, we would be in the Capital One Cup final and what a difference that would make!”
Poyet has bounced back now but he admits the 1-0 defeat to Villa on New Year’s Day hit him badly.
“I was very disappointed after the Aston Villa game – as disappointed as I have been since I got here,” he said.
“I was disappointed after our second-half performance against Spurs a while back, but those were different circumstances.
“Yes, we played poorly against Spurs but we were coming into that game off the defeat we’d had to Chelsea in the league. Against Villa, everything was in our favour.
“We were five games unbeaten going into a home game against a team in and around us at the bottom.
“Everything was set, everything was ready for us to take advantage and we started magnificently and had a great chance to score a goal.
“But we didn’t take it and were punished badly for an error which we failed to recover from.
“We did not play well, we were rushed, we were hurried, we allowed the pressure to get to us.
“And at the end, every player was playing an individual game instead of playing as a team.
“It was not a good day and now we have to use the cup games to change things around and go again.”