GUS POYET wants to see parity between Sunderland’s Stadium of Light form and their performances on the road.
Sunderland have taken just a solitary point away from home this season, with the Black Cats suffering four successive defeats on their travels.
That is a stark contrast to their fortunes on Wearside, with Poyet overseeing victories in each of his three outings at the Stadium of Light since taking charge last month, beating Newcastle, Southampton (Capital One Cup) and Manchester City.
But the head coach admits that Sunderland’s results and performances in his two away games – defeats at Swansea and Hull – have not been up to scratch and is hoping to see a drastic improvement in tomorrow’s crunch trip to fourth-bottom Stoke City.
“The most important thing for me is to see the team performing away from home at a very good level,” said Poyet.
“We’ve not been good enough so far.
“If you start from the beginning of the league, one point away from home is not good enough. Simple as that.
“My team, the one I want to see over the next few years, is one who can play the same away from home as they do at home.
“That means we have to control things, be brave and know the opposition will play differently because they are at home.
“It’s not like ‘we’re away from home and we don’t have a big responsibility or nothing to lose’.
“No, there’s plenty to lose.
“We need the three points and it doesn’t matter where we get them.
“I want to see my team away from home as well.
“I saw it for 45 minutes at Hull and in a not-bad first half an hour at Swansea.
“But we were missing something – the opportunity to attack, keep the ball better and create chances.
“I need to see my team doing better away from home and this is a great opportunity to do it, with all respect to Stoke.”
Poyet believes the mentality of away games has changed since his own playing days, with teams now sensing an opportunity to perform in a more relaxed environment on the road.
“It’s changed since my time as a football player,” he added.
“At that time, everyone wanted to play at home because the fans were behind you. Now it’s changed. Players away from home are more relaxed and there is less pressure.
“They can find spaces better because of the opposition’s aggression.
“At home sometimes, the opposition comes and sets up in a different way. But I want to see my team going in there and being brave, whatever the result.
“Sometimes you can play fantastic, but lose a game. But you have to set up the basics and that’s what I’m looking for.”