GUS POYET hopes he can strike the right balance to make the most of Emanuele Giaccherini and Ricky Alvarez’s attacking talents.
Giaccherini and Alvarez both made a positive impression after coming off the bench in yesterday’s 3-2 defeat at Manchester City, as Sunderland suffered their second loss in three games.
Sunderland had been woeful in possession until City broke the deadlock just before the hour mark, yet there was a marked improvement in their ball retention after the introduction of Giaccherini.
Alvarez also made his mark with a sparkling run in the build-up to the penalty which Adam Johnson converted for Sunderland’s equaliser.
Their contribution didn’t go unnoticed from Poyet, with the head coach admitting he needs to weigh up both ends of the pitch when considering the pair’s involvement.
“They give you plenty of options going forwards,” said Poyet.
“We need to find the balance to let them play going forwards and be better defensively when they’re on the pitch.
“The closer you get to that, the better team you are because then you can have both actions on the field – defensive and offensive.”
Yesterday’s game was a fourth inside 11 days for Sunderland, with Leeds visiting the Stadium of Light on Sunday in the FA Cup third round.
But after the cup, Sunderland’s schedule eases and that will correspond with the return from injury of Patrick van Aanholt, Anthony Reveillere, Lee Cattermole and Liam Bridcutt, with Poyet glad to have his options strengthened.
“We’ve been playing with four or five defenders for the last month and a half, it’s been tough for them, for Wes Brown especially,” he added.
“They’ve been trying to do their best.
“Now when Patrick van Aanholt and Anthony Reveillere are back, the options are going to be different.
“When you play every two or three days you can’t refresh.
“We are not Man City. We don’t have (Vincent) Kompany, (Yaya) Toure, (Samir) Nasri who can keep the ball for ages and not run too much.
“We are Sunderland and we need the squad.
“It’s not an excuse. We had enough players yesterday and a good bench.
“But I’m just saying it’s better for me when I’ve got everybody.
“It’s difficult for the players, though, because a few good names are going to be out of the squad next week.”