GUS Poyet hopes to hear by the end of the week whether or not he has the Sunderland job, after admitting he has been purposely waiting for a Premier League opportunity to come along.
The 45-year-old has been out of work since May when he parted company with Brighton having led them to promotion from League One and established them in the Championship.
Since then, he has been studying the Premier League forensically in the hope that a job might become available and says his strategy has been to give himself until the end of the year to see if the opportunity comes along,
Poyet, who has also confirmed that Roberto Di Matteo does not fancy the post, is hopeful of being appointed Paolo Di Canio’s successor at the Stadium of Light and has been installed as the bookies’ red-hot favourite.
But he knows that his lack of top-flight experience might count against him, especially with Sunderland having had their fingers burned with Di Canio, who had also never managed in the Premier League.
Speaking to Uruguay radio station Sport 890, Poyet says he has “a chance” of the job at Sunderland in the wake of his acrimonious split with Brighton at the end of last season.
“When what happened in the summer happened, I thought I would be in England until at least January,” he revealed.
“I planned that over the first matches of the season I would pay a lot of attention to the teams I thought could be in trouble.
“Of course I watch Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester but there was a group of teams who, if they didn’t start well, I thought I could have a chance.
“I was watching Sunderland a lot.
“People were talking a lot about them in the summer because of Paolo and how many new players they had.
“So I’ve seen quite a lot of them.”
Poyet believes the Black Cats have a squad which could finish comfortably mid-table this season and is desperate to be the manager who gets them there, knowing his best job opportunity lies in taking on a failing Premier League and turning them around.
He said: “England is where I have made my name so I planned to wait for a chance in the Premier League until for example January.
“In general managers start to lose their jobs in October and November.
“With Di Canio it has happened a bit quicker.
“I thought ‘If I’m going to get a chance it will be in October, November, December’.
“If December comes and nothing happens, if four or five teams have changed manager and I haven’t been close, I would open myself up to the world, let’s say, in general, possibly Europe, but to the world and an opportunity that could appear at an interesting team.
“What has happened with Sunderland is confirmation that I wasn’t too far wrong.”
Di Matteo looks to be out of the picture now, Poyet confirmed, but he could face strong competition from Gianfranco Zola at Watford.
Of Di Matteo, Poyet said: “I called him and said “Really, are you interested?’ and he said ‘No.’ I said ‘Good, thank you. One less!’
“Another was Gianfranco Zola.
“ It’s a team with lots of backroom staff and scouting staff from Italy.
“It was possible it would have been easier to go down that line, for the understanding between people from the same country.
“It’s a new team, very international, and it would be convenient for the new person to speak various languages.
“You wouldn’t need to have translators continually.
“That is something that helps me because I have that ability.
“But there are things that go against me, for example the fact that I’ve never managed in the Premier League.
“If one day you coach in the Premier League without having previously managed and it’s your first job and it doesn’t go well, generally they accuse you of not having worked at the lower level and taken the right steps required to reach the top.
“But it has to be one way or the other.
“It can’t be that when you have taken all the steps - been assistant to different managers, been manager yourself and improved year after year in the team you were with, that you can’t then have a chance at a higher level,
“That is illogical.”
Poyet’s name is certainly the one being given highest consideration at the Stadium of Light at the moment.
But there are other options being assembled as part of Sunderland’s recruitment process and owner Ellis Short is determined to explore every avenue before making the appointment.
In Poyet’s case, much will depend on the circumstances of his departure from Brighton to see whether there are issues which might be a problem at Sunderland.
And the club plans to vet every candidate thoroughly in a bid to get right an all-important appointment, given Sunderland’s perilous position at the bottom of the Premier League.