GUS POYET has called for “understanding and patience” on the terraces to cure Sunderland’s home sickness.
Sunderland limped to a goalless draw against Championship outfit Fulham today, with the Black Cats forced to head to Craven Cottage on Tuesday, February 3 for an FA Cup fourth round replay.
The Black Cats have won just once in the Premier League at the Stadium of Light this season, with their only other home victory coming in the FA Cup third round against Leeds.
Poyet feels some of his players are lacking confidence on their own turf, and believes they need a more patient outlook from the crowd.
“(There is a) disconnection at the moment with the fans,” said the head coach.
“I think the fans want Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips back, but they are not playing anymore.
“There are plenty of things we need to change, but if not, it’s going to be difficult.
“There are players who need the famous confidence word, for them to be better.
“When the Stadium is not happy, the players don’t express themselves.
“Now kick and rush is very easy.
“That’s something I would not like to watch week-in, week-out.
“We are going to try to find the formula to pass the ball better and forwards.
“A little bit of understanding and patience would be very welcome.”
Poyet made little defence of his side’s first half performance, with the second 45 minutes marginally better, despite the dismissal of midfielder Jack Rodwell.
But Poyet stressed that Sunderland are at least still in the FA Cup after a day of giant-killings in the competition.
“I think if you ask Chelsea, Man City, Tottenham and Southampton if they wanted to have a replay, they’d love it,” he said.
“Some teams love this competition because of those results.
“Here it was an average, poor, boring first half.
“We didn’t find the rhythm, the passing we were trying to achieve or the pressure to be in their half.
“Fulham were comfortable passing the ball and keeping the ball. It was not the best game to watch.
“The second half was more exciting, especially after the sending off.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s another game in 10 days time. I think we need to try to win the game.”
Rodwell was perhaps fortunate to only escape with a yellow card in the first half for an ugly lunge on Fulham left-back Konstantinos Stafylidis.
But he was booked for a second time after the break for preventing keeper Marcus Bettinelli clearing the ball.
“People who play football at the highest level know that sometimes you do things that if you can go back, you won’t do it,” added Poyet.
“It’s nothing that bad to worry about and I’m sure Jack will know.
“It’s a shame for him (to miss a game) because we’re looking for a team that’s going to play and win.
“If we win on Saturday, it’s going to be difficult for him to come back.
“We went four or five months without a sending off and now in two weeks, we’ve had two.”