GUS Poyet says he will not be deflected by the growing criticism which has come his way in the wake of Sunderland’s controversial FA Cup quarter-final exit at Hull City.
The judgement of the Black Cats’ head coach was called into question when he selected a weakened team for a game which offered the Capital One Cup finalists the prospect of an immediate return to Wembley for an FA Cup semi-final.
Hull’s resulting 3-0 victory took them to the national stadium for this weekend’s last-four meeting with League One club Sheffield United.
Meanwhile, Sunderland have slumped to the bottom of the table, picking up just one point in five league matches and more questions have been raised about a defensive formation in recent games which has seen three centre-halves played and two holding midfielders in Lee Cattermole and Liam Bridcutt.
But Poyet says he is continuing to pick the best side for the job and says his two defensive midfielders deserve nothing but support.
“I’m being totally honest,” he said. “I don’t care what criticism comes my way.
“Everyone has an opinion and there’s nothing I can do about that.
“But the most consistent players I’ve had in recent weeks have been Lee Cattermole and Liam Bridcutt.
“It doesn’t matter where you play, what you do, or your technical ability – it matters what you do on the pitch.
“And those two have shown, by the way they have played, that they deserve to play.”
Poyet pointed out, though, that whatever players he selects or formation he plays in Sunderland’s seven remaining games, he intends to go for it in all of them.
“I think it’s natural that our position will dictate to a certain extent the teams we play – we have to go for wins,” said the Uruguayan, who faces daunting trips to Manchester City and Chelsea following tomorrow’s visit of an on-song Everton side who will climb into the top four if they win at the Stadium of Light.
“But I think the most important thing is to know which players are strongest mentally, while we look to put a good mix of quality and desire on the pitch.
“I don’t think we can improve technically, or tactically, or fitness wise at his stage.
“I think it’s just a case of picking players and a team that is going to click and have a go.”
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