GUS Poyet insists Manchester United remain favourites to go through to the Capital One Cup final, despite Sunderland’s thrilling 2-1 win at the Stadium of Light last night.
On a great night of cup football on Wearside, an own goal from Ryan Giggs and a Fabio Borini penalty were enough to see Sunderland heading into the second leg of their semi-final at Old Trafford later this month with a 2-1 advantage.
Poyet however is not counting any chickens though, despite United’s recent poor form and Sunderland’s success in the domestic cups.
”Where we are, is in a better situation because we have won the first game,” he smiled.
“That is all.
“But they will likely have Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie back for the return leg, so they will be strong favourites for the game at their place.”
Poyet’s realism though was strongly tempered by hope.
He said: “I saw some good play from us in the game and if we can play like that at Old Trafford, then we might have a chance.
“There was a spell in the first half in particular where we passed the ball really well and if we can play in longer periods of the game like that, then we could succeed in making it difficult for them again.”
For the moment, Poyet’s thoughts were less on the second leg and more on the immediate benefits he hopes to reap from the game.
“There are a few important things here,” he said.
“One is seeing happy faces in the dressing room.
“We are normal people like anyone else and we like to enjoy life and this season has been a very sad one, so it’s good to see it being a good place to be.
“Two, is the fact that we have beaten a top, top team and the need to take confidence from that.
“And the last one is Adam Johnson.
“I’m going home convinced he can help us, he was the big plus point for me, on the day.
“That was exactly what I wanted from him - for him to come on and change the game - and that’s exactly what he did.
“That’s the player I want him to be from now until the end of the season - someone who can make a difference.
“I know he’s capable of being that.”