Sunderland boss takes criticism on the chin

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet.
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet.
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A BRUISED Gus Poyet has taken the first criticism of his Sunderland reign on the chin.

The Sunderland boss has come in for stick from a section of supporters this week after making six changes for last Sunday’s FA Cup quarter final defeat at Hull City.

Poyet has performed minor miracles in giving Sunderland a chance of Premier League survival and taking the Black Cats to the Capital One Cup final, but prompted disgruntlement on the terraces with his selection at the KC Stadium.

But the Uruguayan insists he has shared the sense of disappointment over Sunderland’s failure to secure a second trip to Wembley and understands why his line-up has produced so much debate.

Poyet told the Echo: “I felt exactly the same way.

“I don’t accept defeat and I don’t like the way we lost the game and I was not expecting it.

“At the end of the day, it’s a group thing. I like teams that when someone is having a bad day, someone else will help you out. Because next week, I’m going to need help.

“This group looks like it’s getting there sometimes, but then other ones, there is nothing.

“It’s time to learn that and to maintain it for as many games as possible.”

He added: “When I was a fan in Uruguay, I’d be making my own team too, but I didn’t know what the manager was dealing with every day.

“It’s very easy to make a team from the outside, especially if you are a fan of the players.

“I made changes because I am counting on everyone after big disappointments in the dressing room for people who weren’t involved in the final.

“They were convinced that they deserved to play.

“Now, I’ve got the answers. Simple.”

While Sunderland’s inconsistency continues to be a source of frustration for both supporters and Poyet, the Black Cats boss says it should not be a surprise given the club has struggled at the wrong end of the table for each of the last three seasons.

And while Sunderland have enjoyed several high spots during his reign, Poyet believes there still has to be a sense of reality about the club’s place in the pecking order.

“I love the opinions, but I’d just urge people to be realistic,” said the former Brighton manager.

“We know that we are in a bad position and we moan about it. But I think we should accept it.

“It’s happened for the last three years, it’s not for the first time.

“In the last 15 years, apart from two seasons when they finished seventh and one when they finished 10th, this club has been fighting relegation or gone down.

“I don’t believe in statistics from one game, but from 10 years, I do.

“I think we should be a bit more realistic that unfortunately at the moment, this club is playing to avoid relegation for most of the time.

“If we accept that, then it gives everyone a different mentality.

“I’m not going to accept it (fighting a relegation battle) next year. But for today, it’s true.

“The only way to get away from this is to fight together and make sure it doesn’t happen again because the way we started the season wasn’t acceptable.”