THE speed at which Gus Poyet is seeking to turn Sunderland around this summer is no surprise to Charlie Oatway.
The Black Cats’ first team coach predicted at the end of the season that his boss would not hang about in rebuilding the club.
And with barely three weeks gone since the 2013-14 campaign’s closure, there have been no shortage of comings and goings, with the biggest signing of all, being Poyet himself.
Intense speculation surrounded the Uruguayan’s future as he approached the last year of his contract after his spectacular Sunderland rescue mission.
He was quickly linked with the management of West Ham and Southampton in what could have become a saga dragging on for months.
But Poyet has quickly recommitted himself to the club and wasted no time starting to further revamp the squad he inherited last October.
As well as agreeing a new contract for himself he has quickly brought in two new signings while sorting out the fate of seven first-team players
Yesterday, Seb Larsson became the latest to sort out his future, with the out-of-contract Swedish international midfielder rejecting interest from other clubs to agree a new three-year deal with the Wearsiders.
And Oatway insists Poyet will be determined to get as much work done as possible before taking up his World Cup punditry duties in Brazil.
“Gus is black and white with the way he conducts himself in pre-season - he always likes to get the majority of his players in early, so he can conduct and manage them,” he said.
“He likes to get everything in place within that five or six week period over the summer so that he can get on with organising things for when the group comes back.
“It would be nice to hopefully get all the players he wants in, but I know he will want to get as many as he can in place.
“What is really, really important to us is having a good pre-season - having the players you want around club early on so you can educate them in the way you want to play.”
Larsson was one of eight first-teamers out of contract this summer.
Six of the eight - Phil Bardsley, Craig Gardner, Keiren Westwood, Andrea Dossena, Carlos Cuellar and Oscar Ustari - have already left and with Larsson having now re-signed, that leaves just Jack Colback’s situation to resolve.
Colback looks certain to leave for West Ham, who have offered him the chance to vastly improve on the wages he was receiving at the Stadium of Light.
But Oatway says Poyet’s focus will be on re-shaping the squad and getting new recruits and players already at the club completely drilled do the way he wants them to play and the footballing philosophy he is trying to bring to the club.
“He will coach them how to play with 11 men, how to play with 10 men, nine men and how to react in so many different situations,” smiled Oatway. “He’s mad about pre-season.
“He likes to get everything in place as much as possible within that five or six week period because he sees it as so important to having a successful season.”
Oatway himself says it will be nice to start with a clean slate next month.
“From the moment we came in we were constantly fire-fighting,” he said.
“Your focus was always on watching the team coming up and you didn’t really get the time on the training pitch to elaborate on what you want to do.
“So it would be nice to get through a good pre-season, having the players you want around the club so you can educate them in the way you want to play and I know that’s what’s on Gus’s mind.”