GUS Poyet says no-one needs to talk up the importance of this weekend’s Wear-Tyne derby.
And he says that rather than dwell on the significance of the game, he prefers to devote all his energies into ensuring his squad is ready for Sunday’s big event.
“I don’t want to exaggerate when I look ahead to the game,” he said.
“I don’t want to say we have got time – you can’t say that.
“But I don’t want to go the other way and say this is a final, and build it up that way.
“At the end of the day, it is about winning a football game.
“And it needs to be now.
“In Spanish, we say it needs to be yesterday – not tomorrow, now!
“Then we go from there.
“It’s a great opportunity for us, though.
“Can we do it?
“I believe we can and this week we are going to work as hard as possible to make it so.”
Poyet will do everything he can to instil a sense of self-belief in players who have been through the wringer since the opening day of the campaign.
“We’ve been trying to build confidence from day one, and I thought that we were better in those terms,” added the former Brighton manager.
“The team was already different under Kevin Ball and I hoped we had moved another step forward doing our things.
“But, at the end of the day, what matters is Saturday, three o’clock. It doesn’t matter about Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.
“It doesn’t matter what people say, or what they think.
“It’s Saturday, three o’clock. Ninety minutes.
“And that’s what we need to put right.”
Ultimately, Poyet believes it will come down to the players who show character – and that will be true nowhere more so than the derby.
“I think, in football nowadays, the mental side is key,” he said.
“Managers need to be kind of psychologists.
“People work in all different manners – we are talking about different players, different nationalities.
“What is true is that now I have a better picture of my players for the next game.”