STEVEN FLETCHER admits he was fuming after Gus Poyet’s decision to drop him from the Sunderland squad last month.
But Fletcher concedes that Poyet got the reaction he was looking for after the Sunderland frontman ended a nine-month goal drought to help the Black Cats secure their maiden Premier League victory of the campaign.
The Scotland international came back into the fold with a bang in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Stoke City after netting his first competitive goals since December’s draw at Cardiff City.
Three weeks ago, Fletcher found himself relegated both from the starting XI and the matchday squad against Spurs after drawing a blank in the opening three games of the campaign.
But Fletcher proved his point emphatically against the Potters, with the 27-year-old’s goal celebrations demonstrating his pleasure at silencing the doubters.
Fletcher told the Echo: “Obviously you want to play every game.
“If you’re not playing, you at least want to be on the bench.
“So I’m not going to say I was happy about it (being left out against Spurs). I was angry.
“But I think I’ve proven that I should have been somewhere near the squad, so hopefully that will continue.
“The manager wanted a reaction and he got a positive reaction, which was good.”
The ex-Wolves man added: “I was happy with the win and to get the goals as well was good.
“It’s been frustrating. Personally, I think I’ve been doing quite well in training, but when you’re not in the squads and stuff, it’s frustrating.
“You get a bit of stick don’t you? But I’m used to that now. I’m 27-years-old, I’ve had stick all my life.
“If you don’t score goals, you get stick. You’re not just going to take that.
“But I’m glad I’ve got off the mark. It’s been a long time coming with injuries and stuff.”
Fletcher’s inclusion saw Connor Wickham move to the left flank, but Poyet’s selection reaped significant rewards, with the two strikers making a goal for each other.
Charlie Adam cancelled out Wickham’s fifth-minute opener before Fletcher’s brace secured Sunderland’s first league win heading into the two-week international break.
“We need to create more chances, but we both created chances for each other on Saturday which was good,” added Fletcher, now with the Scotland squad ahead of Euro 2016 qualifiers against Georgia and Poland.
“But we saw that if we create chances, we’ve got strikers who can take them.
“When I first signed, we put crosses in the box a lot and obviously when the new gaffer comes in and changes the style, it’s difficult.
“But he is telling the wingers to put crosses in, so if we keep doing that, we’ll get goals.
“We’ve been putting in performances, but not getting over the line with the win. But on Saturday, everything came together for us.
“Obviously, going 1-0 up and conceding, it was good that we fought back to regain the lead. And then to get that third was great.”