Sunderland boss wants more urgency in the final third

Sunderland's manager Gus Poyet.
Sunderland's manager Gus Poyet.
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GUS POYET admits it has been challenging to inject a sense of forward momentum into Sunderland’s new-look side at the start of the campaign.

Sunderland have fired blanks in each of their last two games, with the Black Cats yet to record a Premier League victory this season.

But there were signs of promise against Swansea, with Poyet believing his ideas are beginning to get across.

The Sunderland head coach admits the Black Cats had previously been too stodgy in their build-up play, while tending to pass the ball sideways, rather than forwards.

But Poyet says that was almost inevitable with eight fresh faces – plus the returning Santiago Vergini – getting to grips with Sunderland’s playing style.

The head coach told the Echo: “There was a moment in the second half against Stoke when I didn’t like how slow we were playing.

“Sometimes, keeping the ball doesn’t mean that you just pass the ball sideways.

“The meaning is keeping it to create and do things.

“We don’t want to just get it and kick it. But we need to move the ball with a meaning; the quicker you attack, the harder it is for the opposition to get back.

“Remember we’ve got quite a few that are new and I know the first thing when they come into a team that wants to keep the ball, they play sideways or backwards.

“It always happens.

“If you saw my first two months at Brighton, it took us half-an-hour to make one attack!

“But that’s the first step to playing it forwards.

“You start doing sessions where you obligate the players to play it forwards.”

Among the new signings, Jack Rodwell, in particular, is yet to reach the level which persuaded Sunderland to splash out £10million on the England international during the summer, albeit he has needed to knock off the rust from his two years at Manchester City.

But Poyet knows from his own playing days how difficult it can be to adapt to the style at a new club.

“It’s normal when you come in from different places with a different way of playing,” added Poyet.

“I could go back to my times at Chelsea.

“Graeme Le Saux came in and I remember after a week of training, Ruud Gullit (then Chelsea manager) stopped him and said: ‘We don’t have an Alan Shearer or a Chris Sutton, we are not Blackburn’.

“That doesn’t mean their (Blackburn’s) system was bad. They were spectacular at holding the ball up playing that way.

“But the ball kept flying over my head on the left wing and I couldn’t play.

“Graeme, who is very intelligent, two minutes later started doing it differently.

“But you have other players who it might take three months to realise another way of playing.

“That’s happened in our team with certain players.

“For example, Jack Rodwell has come from Man City where they have the ball all day.

“He needs to get used to that feeling of not having the ball.”