GUS POYET admits he had second thoughts over whether Sunderland had missed an opportunity against Manchester United.
Unbeaten Sunderland made it two draws out of two yesterday after fighting back to earn a 1-1 draw against Louis van Gaal’s side, in their opening Stadium of Light game of the season.
Despite putting another point on the board, there was still a sense of what might have been, with United looking fragile defensively and struggling to create clear-cut chances.
But when asked whether Sunderland had missed a trick, Poyet says his view changed after seeing Robin van Persie, Antonio Valencia and Tom Cleverley return to the United starting XI.
“If you had asked me that question on Saturday, I would have said probably,” said Poyet.
“I was not expecting to see Valencia, van Persie and a few more in the team, so, at the end, I would say to you ‘no’.
“It’s Manchester United and if you gave me van Persie and Rooney every week, I would take it and play them, without any problem. Don’t worry, we would find a system for them to play together as well!
“To analyse perfectly, I would say I was very pleased with the quality and the way we adapted to the system of Manchester United in the first half, probably being the best team on the pitch.
“And then suffering and somehow defending and getting a point in the second half because definitely we dropped a little bit physically and Manchester United were stronger than us.
“It’s two parts and, in the end, of course, you need to take a point.
“We were working for five days on Manchester United’s system.
“Probably fans don’t look at those situations, but a simple change of position makes you more aware and do different things.
“I thought we coped very well with that and we tried to be always in a certain position to defend and make it very difficult for them.”
The biggest scare for Sunderland came just after the hour mark when John O’Shea’s awful square pass to Wes Brown played in United’s Ashley Young.
The England winger went to ground under Brown’s challenge, but referee Martin Atkinson booked the Manchester United man for diving.
Poyet added: “It was tough on Ashley. The only problem with Ashley is his reputation.
“Before he even went for that ball, everybody was expecting him to jump, but that reputation is unfortunate.
“I didn’t think it was a yellow card. I am not sure if it was a penalty. It was one of those that is even difficult for the referee.
“Either way, some people will be upset, some people will be happy.
“It was one of those. It was a difficult 50-50 and the outcome was only because of what has happened in the past and it’s not fair on him. I don’t like it.”