GUS POYET has pledged to give his back four a run of games together in the hope of creating of some harmony in Sunderland’s leaky defence.
Sunderland used four different defensive combinations over the opening seven Premier League games, with only one of those changes enforced after John O’Shea was sent off at Crystal Palace.
That conveyor belt of players has taken its toll, with Sunderland conceding more goals than any of their top flight rivals.
But new head coach Poyet is determined to put an end to the defensive rotation and expects to keep faith with the back four who start his opening game in charge at Swansea.
Poyet told the Echo: “I analyse the formations we’ve used in the previous seven games.
“I’ve tried not to look too much into the cup games because I don’t know the mentality that the manager had.
“But there have been plenty of changes to the back four.
“There are different reasons for that - if John O’Shea gets a red card, you need a new centre-half. That’s common sense.
“But there have been too many changes for my liking.
“People are different over change. I see Man United change every game in a row and don’t have a problem.
“But I like my defensive unit to be consistent so we know each other so well that we can help each other.
“With one word, we know where we are.
“If this is the back four, can they show me that? If yes, then they stay.
“If they don’t do what we need, then you maybe give someone else a chance.
“But I hope we can maintain the back four as long as we can.”
Since being appointed at the Stadium of Light 10 days ago, Poyet has studied the goals Sunderland have conceded and believes he has spotted a pattern.
It is something he has attempted to address on the training field, despite being hampered by nine players being away on international duty.
“Of course, I’ve analysed why we’ve conceded so many goals and I have my own suspicions - our defending in certain areas; what we did do and what we didn’t do,” added Poyet.
“I’ve tried to address those things because there is a pattern in a few things.
“It’s been happening a lot so we need to change that dramatically.
“If the opposition score from a different angle, fair enough.
“But we need to change it and we’ve been working on that.
“Apart from (Ondrej) Celustka and four or five days without John O’Shea - when he went later to the national team - the rest have worked on a defensive unit here.
“I hope they will do it, but I’m quite confident they will and that’s important already.
“The more we train and play together, the better.”