Sunderland boss won’t linger on threat of sack

Gus Poyet watches the Villa debacle
Gus Poyet watches the Villa debacle
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SACK RACE favourite Gus Poyet insists he cannot fret about whether Sunderland chairman Ellis Short will pull the trigger.

Widespread reports last night indicated that Sunderland are now considering short-term options to keep the club in the Premier League over the final nine games, before making a permanent appointment at the end of the season.

Widespread reports last night indicated that Sunderland are now considering short-term options to keep the club in the Premier League over the final nine games, before making a permanent appointment at the end of the season.

Poyet became odds-on with the bookies to be the next Premier League manager to lose his job after Sunderland’s abysmal 4-0 Stadium of Light rout at the hands of Aston Villa on Saturday.

There have been whispers in football circles for weeks about the possibility of Sunderland and Poyet parting ways in the summer, yet club sources have persistently played down speculation about the head coach’s position being in immediate jeopardy.

But Sunderland’s defeat to fellow strugglers Villa, coupled with Burnley’s shock win over Manchester City, has left the Black Cats just a point above the drop zone.

That was the same margin Sunderland boasted from the bottom three when Short relieved Martin O’Neill of his duties at a similar stage of the season two years ago.

With evident tension between Poyet and the club’s hierarchy stretching back as far last summer, the Uruguayan’s 18-month reign at the Stadium of Light could be coming to an end.

Poyet will not walk away and knows it is his responsibility to produce a drastic change of fortunes, but says he cannot afford to worry about the inevitable speculation over his future.

“I’m not going to send a message to the chairman through the press,” said Poyet. “I’m just doing what I need to do. If they call me now or tomorrow, then after that, everyone will know.

“But at the moment, I cannot think about that.

“I need to think about the job, what we did in the first half and concentrate on putting things right. Nothing else.

“I’m going to face whatever is coming. I need to take it. I’m the one in charge. I was doing very well at Brighton and got sacked anyway.

“Anything can happen at any time. I just need to concentrate on things that happened and why - who is ready to fight? Who is ready to do things right?”

Defeat against Villa extended Sunderland’s winless run to six Premier League games, ahead of next Saturday’s trip to a West Ham side similarly struggling for form.

But to his credit, there were no empty words from Poyet about how Sunderland will respond at Upton Park - if simply a pledge to analyse what went so terribly wrong against Villa.

“I listen to that phrase all the time: ‘bounce back’,” added Poyet. “Teams go down and everyone is talking about bouncing back the next year. They don’t and then everyone forgets what the manager was saying 12 months before.

“That’s too easy. I’m not that type of person. I’m going to analyse the first half very deeply and going to make decisions. I think people had put themselves in the team for the way they had been training or playing, and maybe a few put themselves out of the team for the way they performed on Saturday.

“The only thing I can promise is we’re going to keep working for West Ham. But more than that, I just want us to play with intelligence. You cannot say things that you cannot do.

“All I can do is promise that I’m going to analyse the situation and work as hard as we can to put it right.”