SUNDERLAND must come through stormy waters against Manchester City and then strike when they are on top.
That will be Gus Poyet’s message to his players ahead of tomorrow’s Capital One Cup final, as Sunderland bid to end their 41-year trophy drought.
Poyet watched Sunderland fold in the first half at Arsenal last weekend when the Black Cats were firmly on the back foot.
The Uruguayan knows Sunderland cannot afford to be such a soft touch when title contenders Manchester City inevitably enjoy lengthy spells of pressure at Wembley tomorrow.
And when Sunderland do produce promising moments of their own, Poyet insists the under-dogs must make the most of it.
“In these types of games, you will always have a good period sooner or later and you need to take advantage,” Poyet told the Echo.
“They will have a good period too and then you have to make sure you don’t give anything cheaply away.
“If they do it by quality, then fair enough.
“But the other day, we gave Arsenal the second goal at 30 minutes and who knows what would have happened if it had been 1-0 at half-time.
“Arsenal played with 10 men three days before and who knows what could have happened with a couple of changes.
“But at 3-0, it was game-over.
“We need to make sure we manage those times.
“If we concede after 38 minutes, then make sure we get to half-time just 1-0 down.”
Poyet says it is particularly crucial that Sunderland begin the final on the front foot.
Sunderland were left facing an uphill battle at the Emirates after conceding within the first five minutes and the Black Cats boss says there can be no repeat against Man City.
“It’s vitally important that we start well,” he added.
“We have to be a little bit more brave during the first 20 minutes than we were at Arsenal.
“And then we have to manage the game.”
H Check out Monday’s Sunderland Echo for extensive coverage of the Capital One Cup Final.