Sunderland players backing formation – Poyet

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet.
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet.
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GUS POYET insists Sunderland’s players have welcomed the switch to a five-man defence.

The Black Cats boss has used a 5-3-2 formation in each of Sunderland’s last three games after proving a decent barrier in combating in-form Liverpool strike pair Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez earlier this month.

But Sunderland have yet to register a point with their new system, albeit three of Tottenham’s five goals in Monday night’s 5-1 rout came when the Wearsiders had reverted to a more orthodox 4-4-2.

Poyet says the players feel more comfortable with three central defenders though; hinting that Sunderland will persist with the strategy for Saturday’s visit of in-form Everton.

“I’m a four-at-the-back man, always,” said Poyet.

“But I’ve had to change for different reasons.

“It was very, very welcome for the players. It feels like the best option for the players and the one where they feel alright on the pitch.

“It would be stupid to change it just because I like playing four.

“Now, that restricts you in other areas of the pitch. You have to play one less up front sometimes.”

While Poyet is happy to listen to views from the dressing room, he is keen to stress that much of the feedback he receives from players is ignored.

But he says that the belief in persisting with a 5-3-2 formation has been significant, as he has looked for a system to somehow deliver Sunderland from the jaws of relegation.

“I like to have feedback from the players, but it’s all the time, not just now,” added the Uruguayan.

“It was the same in December, the same in January and the same for the cup final.

“I always talk to players and let them have an opinion.

“I analyse most of the time and usually disagree, because they only see things from their side.

“I need to see things from the team’s side.

“But, sometimes, they give you ideas and the feeling lately is that the players feel more secure playing five at the back.

“That’s surprising because they’ve never played that way before.”