GUS POYET has already altered Sunderland’s training regime to inject some sharpness into the Black Cats on a match-day.
Just three weeks after taking the Sunderland reins, new head coach Poyet has moved quickly to rip-up the schedule introduced by predecessor Paolo Di Canio.
Under Di Canio, training sessions would last for two hours and 10 minutes, but Poyet felt such long work-outs left Sunderland leggy when it came to the weekend.
Instead, Poyet has reduced the session to a shorter, but more intense 90 minutes - a ploy also used by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
Poyet told the Echo: “I am a believer that you play as you train.
“There are not many players who are terrible in training and go onto the pitch and become very good.
“Only special players can do that.
“But at the end of the day, I’m convinced that it’s all about a Saturday at 3 o’clock.
“Somehow the players need to realise that they need to prepare themselves for that.
“That’s when you need to be at your best.
“We do our bit and we try to make it as right as possible, and the players need to do the same.
“We need to go into the games better mentally, physically, technically and tactically of course.
“There are many aspects of the game that are not right at the moment which is why we are where we are.”
Intensity has been Poyet’s watch-word at the Academy of Light this week after seeing Sunderland’s second half collapse at Swansea last weekend.
Sunderland have conceded 15 of the 20 goals they have shipped in the second half of games and Poyet does not believe it is down to a lack of fitness.
The Black Cats players have been tested by Poyet’s coaching staff and their basic level of conditioning is up to scratch.
But Poyet believes it is a lack of intensity in the second half which is costing the Premier League’s basement boys time and time again.
“We are not intense enough in the second half for some reason,” added Poyet.
“I said after the Swansea game it’s mental. But it is also the physical side of it that is coming together.
“To do what I want, we need to be a 95 minute-team doing the same.
“Of course there are periods in a game where the opposition play and you need to be organised to cope with that.
“But we weren’t intense enough and that is something we need to change.
“This is not about whether they are fit enough. They are because we did a test and the results were quite positive.
“Also we see them in training every day and we have no complaints about the attitude of what they are trying to achieve.
“It’s just games which show you what is happening.
“It’s not the first time that’s happened so you need to be smart and do the right things.”