GUS POYET claims there is a culture of mistakes at Sunderland which he has been unable to halt in his year at the helm.
Sunderland paid the price for another two howlers in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Arsenal, as the Black Cats continued the pattern of self-inflicted wounds from the previous weekend’s 8-0 drubbing at Southampton.
Poyet’s side had begun the season with a resiliency after losing just one of the opening seven games, yet following Newcastle’s win at Spurs yesterday, Sunderland now find themselves in the bottom three.
Head coach Poyet admits the manner of the two back-to-back defeats has led him to question the progress made under his stewardship in changing the mentality at the Stadium of Light.
“I thought until last week that we were a very difficult team to play against,” said Poyet.
“I think on Saturday we showed glimpses of that.
“But we couldn’t get away from the mistakes.
“We made too many last year. We scored too many own goals.
“We’re still conceding too many own goals and still making too many individual mistakes.
“That part of it we didn’t improve at all (over the last year). It’s still there.
“It’s still inside the group, the club whatever you call it.
“That’s something I haven’t improved. Is that my mistake or responsibility? It’s up to you to judge.”
Poyet believes that if Sunderland are going to make long-term progress away from perennially struggling against the drop, then it will stem from continuity in the playing squad.
The Uruguayan made a point of highlighting the difference in the Sunderland side from last season’s corresponding fixture - September 2013’s 3-1 win for the Gunners - and the Black Cats team from this weekend.
“From last year against Arsenal here, seven players who were starting for Sunderland are not at the club. Seven,” he added.
“You want to know which ones? Westwood, Celustka, Diakite, Roberge, Colback, Ki, Vaughan. They are not here.
“Nine of the starting XI of Arsenal are still in their squad.
“That’s the difficulty we’ve got.
“We’re always starting from zero.
“How can you have a consistency and a way of understanding the game and an understanding of when and how to pass?
“You are always catching-up.
“You need the momentum. You need that thing to start it.
“Three weeks ago, we were complaining we hadn’t won in the league and then we won that (Stoke) game, which apparently was the most important fixture of the season.
“And then the next two games are the worst two.”
Sunderland’s board are also looking for continuity in the dug-out, despite a report yesterday that Poyet was in danger of being axed.
The Echo understands there is absolutely no substance to the claims, with a source close to the club describing the story as “utter tosh”.
And while there has evidently been tension between Poyet and the club’s hierarchy over transfers, the former Brighton boss has given no impression whatsoever that he is in jeopardy.