Comment - Wrong time, wrong place for Gus Poyet to discuss Sunderland fans

Sunderlands Gus Poyet speaks with Queens Park Rangers' boss Chris Ramsey
Sunderlands Gus Poyet speaks with Queens Park Rangers' boss Chris Ramsey
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A 20 MINUTE deadline exists for Premier League managers to mop their brows and stand in front of the television cameras after the final whistle.

It was one of the regulations among the hefty small print of the current television deal, as top flight clubs agreed to a host of fresh broadcasting demands in exchange for the obscene sums paid by domestic and international rights holders.

In an era of instant reaction, no-one wants to be twiddling their thumbs to see if a manager agrees or not with a sending-off, even if it provides scant time for calm reflection.

A fine - and a substantial one - awaits for any boss who dares to exceed that time frame.

But Gus Poyet could have done worse than getting out his cheque book after Tuesday’s dire defeat to QPR and sitting in a darkened room for half-an-hour to clarify his thoughts.

The Uruguayan’s post-match assessment has not done himself any favours.

In fact, it poured a petrol tanker of fuel on the fire which was already burning at Sunderland’s inability to continue QPR’s dire away record.

The angry backlash has been to such an extent that Poyet’s future at the Stadium of Light has been discussed on social media ever since, albeit that’s a domain where patience is hardly at a premium.

It’s not the first time that Poyet’s post-match comments have raised eyebrows.

The Uruguayan is a natural winner - testified by his playing career - and when faced with the more depressing of Sunderland defeats, he doesn’t necessarily react well.

There is almost a stream of conscious thought which leaps between topics and failings.

Poyet’s implication that Sunderland attempted a high-tempo, high energy game in the second half against QPR - which he clearly thinks supporters hanker for - and still lost, was needlessly provocative.

The head coach is looking to raise awareness of the problems needed to implement a fresh style of play, and the time and patience required to see that strategy blossom.

Fair enough.

But there is a time and place for such a discussion. It is not after a desperate stalemate against Championship Fulham or an equally poor defeat to a QPR side who hadn’t taken a point on the road all season.

Contrary to what Poyet believes, there is no great desire to see Sunderland play in the manner of Peter Reid’s side either.

When Poyet was appointed, it was accepted that he would bring with him a strategy, where it would be a case of slow, slow, quick, quick, slow.

But supporters became exasperated against QPR because that Continental style was falling at its most basic level. Sunderland couldn’t pass the ball.

It’s no use having a possession-based philosophy without being able to pass it two yards.

A short free-kick from Jordi Gomez to Patrick van Aanholt which went straight into touch summed Sunderland up for the first half-hour against QPR.

When that technical inability sets the tone, any crowd in the country would begin to grumble, let alone one which has witnessed just two home league wins all season.

Sunderland have started too many recent Stadium of Light games in a daze too.

As John O’Shea rightly observed on Tuesday night: “You can’t go into games in first gear thinking you’ll get up to fifth.”

The knee-jerkers have claimed Poyet is on borrowed time, while conveniently forgetting that the managerial merry-go-round is one of the prime reasons for Sunderland’s lack of progress over the last three-and-a-half years.

Sunderland need stability to see one man’s vision come to fruition, rather than a hotch-potch of signings from different reigns being shoehorned into one cohesive unit.

Let’s be realistic too. Sunderland have not been in the relegation zone all season, have a classic FA Cup tie awaiting on Sunday and were never going to be world-beaters after last year’s struggles. They were always going to flirt with the dogfight.

But Poyet must avoid stumbling into this war of words again.

Supporters don’t necessarily care how Sunderland pass it. They just want to see the Black Cats pass it without immediately giving the ball away.