SUNDERLAND’S new found resilience under Gus Poyet has been welcomed by club legend Niall Quinn.
Quinn believes the Black Cats were at a crossroads following the 8-0 demolition at Southampton in mid-October, but have bounced back strongly and are now unbeaten in four league matches.
The hard-fought point in the goalless draw with Chelsea was the latest as Poyet’s squad prepare to host Premier League Champions Manchester City at the Stadium of Light tomorrow night.
Quinn, who played for both clubs during an illustrious career, insists the Uruguayan deserves great credit for the way Sunderland have bounced back from the humiliation on the south coast.
A 2-0 home defeat to Arsenal followed, but a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace and draws with Everton, Leicester City and Chelsea have seen the 13th-placed Black Cats steady the ship.
“I see the majority of the games and I have been impressed with the way they seemed to have got back on track after Southampton,” Quinn told the Echo.
“Gus and his staff deserve a great deal of credit for that because it could have been a slippery slope and hard to recover from.
“Arsenal was a tough one straight after, but I think it is fair to say they are back in business. Maybe not to the extent that Newcastle are, but there is something resilient there.”
Quinn reserved special praise for Poyet, who took over the reins as head coach last October following the dismissal of controversial Italian Paolo Di Canio.
He was charged with staving off the threat of relegation, with Sunderland lying at the foot of the Premier League table after a solitary point from the opening seven games when he came in.
That was achieved in dramatic fashion and Quinn described survival as “incredible”.
Quinn added: “Gus has definitely brought something very valuable to the party.
“It was difficult circumstances that he got the job in and it looked for all the world that the club was heading down.
“I did question him just before the great run started last season – that is my job – and he somehow rallied them to do it.
“That was an incredible time.
“This season, I have been really impressed with the response following the Southampton debacle and they are trying to play the right football.
“At times, it looks really good.
“You would hope they could score more goals now, that is the next thing.
“That doesn’t happen overnight though.
“As somebody with the links I have with the club, I am quite pleased with the job Gus is doing,” added Quinn ahead of the clash with second-top Man City.
The former Republic of Ireland international, who now works as a television pundit, scored 61 goals in 203 appearances for the Black Cats between 1996 and 2002.
Quinn is equally popular at Manchester City, having scored 66 goals in 203 league appearances for City over a six-year spell between 1990 and 1996.