Wise Men Say: Sunderland boss Poyet must take big opportunity at Bradford

Wise Men Say

Wise Men Say

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I MADE some ramblings in my last column about a week being a long time in football. Ain’t that the truth?

I think if we use that very sentiment as some sort of rationale guide, then it’s fair to say Sunderland fans shouldn’t force themselves into some sort of irreversible panic because we were the side who eventually came up short in a home game to QPR.

That first half was rotten though, of course it was.

Now I’m not one to boo the team, especially during the game, but I can’t accept that the performance or current predicament (if there is one) can, or should, be blamed on that.

I actually thought our fans did very well in the second half to try and get behind the side.

I can’t lie, however, and pretend it doesn’t frustrate me at times when the players’ attempt to keep the ball is met with groans of needless impatience.

But what I would say is that I think it’s bordering on insulting to suggest our players matched the visitors’ effort in the first 20 minutes on Tuesday.

We’ve witnessed many truly awful Sunderland sides over the years and the one thing you can generally say about them is that they used to try and approach games at 100 miles per hour from the first whistle.

But if the opposition matched that then we were screwed.

On Tuesday, as wrong as it was tactically, it was firstly poor application from the players as a collective. Furthermore, to insinuate the improved energy levels in the second half weren’t helpful in any way is plain bizarre.

I’m behind Gus Poyet 100 per cent, so won’t say any more that’s already been said on all that.

Whatever you think of the QPR loss, and of the gaffer’s comments, it’s hardly ideal preparation for fifth round FA Cup tie against opponents who love causing a good cup upset or two.

I have some very fond memories of playing at Bradford personally, so can’t wait to see if it continues to be a good hunting ground for the Black Cats.

From Niall Quinn’s penalty save, to Kevin Phillips’ hat-trick, to Julio’s ridiculous lob; many good memories have been birthed at Valley Parade.

And of course we can’t rule out just what positive effects a cup run can do to a club and its fans, look no further than Wearside last season for evidence of that.

It’s because of last season’s League Cup run that I hope the game is taken extremely seriously by the players and coaching staff alike. I want more of it.

You sense the last thing Poyet needs is for Sunderland to be the Monday morning headlines.

I’m sure they won’t be, though.

No matter what your feelings towards the cup are, or how you judge sides like Newcastle who openly dismiss it, it can’t be denied that the draw has been kind to us thus far and you never know when it will be again.

We have to take advantage of it.

There aren’t as many northern teams in the Premier League these days, so a relatively close trip to Yorkshire should see the fans following full of voice and in good spirits

I can’t wait for it personally.

One concern I do have is that, if Gus thinks the second half against QPR was awful football, then whatever it may take to beat Bradford on that pitch could be something else altogether.

* The Wise Men Say podcast is available from every Monday, with SAFC debate from a variety of guests and post-match reaction from Gus Poyet. You can stream it direct from wisemensay.co.uk or subscribe to it on iTunes.