Sunderland must realise need for change or else, says ex-boss Gus Poyet

Gus Poyet

Gus Poyet

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Former Sunderland boss Gus Poyet believes the club need a wake-up call to change the pattern of annual relegation battles.

Saturday’s draw against Swansea finally prompted some encouragement for Sunderland this season after the Black Cats had been tamely swept aside in their opening two games.

You can’t have one, two, three, four consecutive managers because it has to be something else

Gus Poyet

But head coach Dick Advocaat has made no secret of his frustration at Sunderland’s failure to harness the momentum from last season’s escape from the drop - claiming there was “something wrong” at the club after the defeat to Norwich City.

Advocaat was echoing the views of predecessors Martin O’Neill, Paolo Di Canio and Poyet, who have all tried and failed to move Sunderland away from danger.

And Poyet - dismissed last March prior to Advocaat’s appointment - says that should tell the Sunderland’s hierarchy that there are bigger issues at the Stadium of Light than simply the man in the dug-out.

Poyet told Norwegian television channel TV2: “They’re taking too many risks.

“I hope that one day people in there will wake up and say ‘you know what, Martin O’Neill was right, Paolo Di Canio was right, Gus Poyet was right, and probably Dick Advocaat is right. Because we need to change something, if we don’t, we’re going to go down’.

“I think they’ve got terrific potential. The supporters are unbelievable. They’ve got a massive derby which is unique.

“But it’s not working. You can’t have one, two, three, four consecutive managers because it has to be something else.

“It would be a real shame for them to go down.

“There is something. I don’t know what. If I knew I would call and tell them because I want to help them. It doesn’t matter what you do.”

Poyet’s final months at the Sunderland helm were characterised by tension over his relationship with director of football Lee Congerton.

And while Poyet always had the final say on incoming players, he makes no secret about his reservations over the suitability and efficiency of the set-up.

“No one player arrived at the club without me saying I wanted him,” said the Uruguayan.

“That sounds perfect. But in reality, what happens is you find the players that you want, you propose players like I did.

“Those players won’t come, then after they give you names and names and names. You’re going to have to take one.

“You can’t start the league without a striker, for example. So you’re going to have to accept the player because you’re a professional and you need it.

“I started pre-season last year without a right-back. Billy Jones was injured and we had to play Charis Mavrias, he played seven games at right back and he had no chance.

“He was a proper winger with no idea how to defend.

“Now, is that the best preparation for a season? We’re not talking about five-a-side football. Those situations make the process slower. And there’s no time in the Premier League.”