UNDER-THE-WEATHER Gus Poyet delegated his press conference duties to Charlie Oatway yesterday after returning home following the conclusion of training.
But even though the Sunderland head coach was suffering with illness, Poyet had still managed to digest Saturday’s defeat to Norwich City and immediately attempted to correct the errors for Boxing Day’s trip to Everton.
First-team coach Oatway told the Echo: “Gus will watch the game, watch the game and watch the game, and then watch the team coming, watch the team coming up and watch the team coming up.
“I don’t even have to ask him. He’ll have digested the Norwich game and looked at the pluses and minuses.
“We worked on it yesterday. Some had a bit of a rest, but we worked on things that could have been better against Norwich.
“That’s the way Gus is. He is prepared already, that’s the mentality of the man.
“We’re all human, we all get down about a result that we think we should have got or needed to get.
“But you just go again.”
The frustration over Sunderland’s inability to secure a first win in six Premier League outings on Saturday was only heightened by the enormity of the task to come away with anything from Goodison Park.
Everton are two games away from going an entire calendar year at home without suffering a top flight defeat.
And with Sunderland searching for a first league win at Goodison Park since 1996, the odds are firmly in favour of the Toffees consolidating their Champions League challenge.
But while Oatway has plenty of praise for Roberto Martinez’s impressive start to life as Everton manager, he is not phased by Sunderland’s awful record on Merseyside.
“I’m sure there are one or two clubs who have got a poor record at Everton,” he said.
“Certainly, it’s not something that us guys who have not been at the club for long are dwelling over.
“The manager there has gone in and done a fantastic job. He’s got them playing a little bit more free-flowing football.
“It’s going to be a tough game, but I’m not one for history. It’s about the next game.
“It’s about what we do now and how we move forward.
“We just need to give a good account of ourselves and see where it takes us.”
Sunderland’s task has not been made any easier by Wes Brown’s suspension and the potential absence of injury doubt John O’Shea.
Their replacements will have to contain on-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, who netted three times against Sunderland last year for West Brom.
Oatway added: “He’s a hell of a player, isn’t he?
“He seems like he’s a young kid with an old head. Whenever I hear him on the radio or the telly, I like what he says.
“But we’re in the Premier League and you can pick any team in here and they’ll have a hell of a centre-forward or two.
“That’s the league and that’s why it’s the best in the world, because you’re going into those situations week-in, week-out.
“Whoever gets picked to take Wes’ place has got a hell of a job replacing him, let alone dealing with Lukaku.”