GUS POYET has been going back to basics on the training field in a bid to solve Sunderland’s goal problems.
Sunderland head to Manchester City today looking to extend a sequence of four consecutive clean sheets away from home – their best defensive run on the road in the Premier League era.
But it is at the other end of the field where Sunderland have fallen short, with only Burnley and Aston Villa netting fewer goals during the first half of the season.
Poyet is not naive enough to think that Sunderland’s fortunes in front of goal will suddenly improve, albeit the Black Cats will be in the market to boost their attacking options in the January transfer window.
And the head coach has been looking to adopt a simpler attacking strategy in training, in the hope that it will provide an upturn in Sunderland’s goal return.
“The option I liked as a player, and I’ve heard many players saying it, is the manager giving us the freedom to express ourselves,” said the head coach.
“You can dribble, play one-twos and go in behind.
“But if you cannot do that because that freedom is not enough, then I need to find a way which is more pragmatic and simple – even mechanic, if you can call it that, to create more chances.
“We are in the process of doing that, and, depending on January as well, we might have to go more one way or the other.
“But there are things I need to try as a coach.
“I cannot just put that responsibility on them as players.”