Old pals face up to each other in Sunderland-Cardiff crunch

Gus Poyet
Gus Poyet
Have your say

FORMER managerial class-mates Gus Poyet and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer come face to face at the Stadium of Light tomorrow in a battle at the bottom of the Premier League which will call on all the experience they have so far accumulated.

The pair studied for their coaching badges in the same classes as Poyet, at Spurs, and Solskjaer, at Manchester United, looked to make that transition from players to managers once they hung up their boots.

A friendship developed between the two as they both dreamed of one day being in charge of a club of their own.

But that friendship will be put on hold for 90 minutes tomorrow as the ex-managerial students absorb themselves in a Premier League contest which is a long way from the theory papers and classroom discussions.

Poyet said: “We were together as we were studying on coaching courses and we got on well.

“He’s a great lad and he was some player too – the player who could got Manchester United difficult or near impossible goals on so many occasions.

“I’m going to enjoy having a talk to him after the match, but not before – all that either of us will be thinking about before kick-off is the match itself.”

The tactics of the two men are likely to have a big say on the outcome of the game but Poyet says it is one of those matches where Sunderland must not be too pre-occupied with what the opposition do.

“Cardiff have options in terms of what formation and what players they might select and we will take account of that as the game unfolds,” he said.

“But I think we have been playing so well of late that the most important thing is that we concentrate on ourselves and keep doing what we have been doing.

“If we start the game as well as we started our last home game, against Everton, then I don’t see us having problems.

“We have to be completely focused and we have to be on our game from the very first moment.”

Twitter @sunechograeme

* Don’t miss the free, online Football Echo – it’s out from around 6.45pm on this website – for the biggest and best coverage of SAFC and much, much more