WMS: Sunderland boss must find a way to win

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WE’RE all familiar with the following horror movie cliché; the main protagonists find themselves somewhere where they shouldn’t be.

In a darkened forest, the path forks two ways.

They’ll take the wrong one, and as they walk towards their impending doom the music gets louder and louder.

“Gustavo Poyet, it’s all our fault” rang out from large sections of disgruntled support at Valley Parade as a Sunday matinee of horrific proportions played out in front of them.

It’s a retort sparked by some of the manager’s comments in recent weeks.

Some, in fairness to him, weren’t relayed in full context. This in turn has led to an ill-advised attack on the press.

If you get the fans on your back, you’re onto a loser.

Adding the press to an already weighty load isn’t going to make life any easier for the Uruguayan.

The only thing that can rescue Poyet now is results.

Beating West Bromwich Albion would be a start. But as I sit here typing this after seeing Sunderland embarrassed by a League One side, I’m not exactly confident.

Gus said his players gave everything against a Bradford side that managed the game better.

I’m sure they felt they did give 100 per cent – I don’t believe any professional footballer goes out there thinking they’ll put in anything less.

However, sometimes it’s all about moments and split second decisions in games.

When the boots and elbows were flying on a quagmire of a pitch in West Yorkshire, Bradford simply wanted it more.

Sunderland were lucky to come out of the game at 2-0, if it had been four or five there would have been little complaint.

It’s often levelled at Poyet that he doesn’t change things to suit opponents or differing game situations.

In order to cope with the pitch, Sunderland went long ball in a traditional 4-4-2.

They barely won a second ball all game. They were beaten by sheer desire rather than quality.

It was a directionless approach that yielded barely any positives.

I wrote recently about how the arrival of Jermain Defoe had created options for us. We had different ways of playing.

But maybe that brief upturn was fleeting.

I’m no knee jerker. I back Poyet and appreciate the desire to build an identity.

But in the search for progression, the need to find ways of succeeding in the short term appears to be muddying those waters.

Sunderland must win games to stay in the Premier League. In the quest for results, the principle on which our new identity was to be built on has disappeared.

This is a huge concern.

Poyet’s contract runs until 2016. I’m all for the long term, but can Gus get us to where he wants to be in 15 months?

The baby appears to have been thrown out of the bath water.

At the moment, Gus is a long way down that awful path in the darkened forest.

The music is getting louder and louder.

It’s difficult to see a happy ending in this latest Sunderland horror show.

GARETH BARKER

The Wise Men Say podcast is available 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.