KI SUNG-YUENG says Gus Poyet was the key factor in the success of his loan spell at Sunderland.
South Korean international Ki returns to the Stadium of Light with Swansea today after helping Sunderland achieve Premier League survival and reach the Capital One Cup final during his stint with the Black Cats last season.
The 25-year-old was signed by ex-head coach Paolo Di Canio to be the playmaker in Sunderland’s midfield last summer after a fall-out with former Swansea boss Michael Laudrup at the Liberty Stadium.
But Ki began to thrive following Poyet’s appointment, netting four times in 34 appearances for the Wearsiders.
Ki said: “I really enjoyed working with him (Poyet).
“I was fed up when he came in because I had been playing under Di Canio and then the manager changed and you don’t know if you will keep playing.
“You think what is going on? But then he came in and did so much work. He wanted to change the style of play, he worked really hard and he was the reason we stayed up.
“I had a great time working with him, he gave me confidence and he believed in me.
“He wanted to play a passing game, keeping the ball, which suited me and is very similar to Swansea.
“He always believed he could get the club out of trouble and he put a lot of trust in me and my time there has made me a better player for sure.
“I have only good things to say about him. He and Garry (Monk, Swansea manager) are quite similar.
“They are both focused, committed and like smart football. They are very good managers.”
Sunderland had been open to signing Ki on a permanent basis during the summer, but baulked at Swansea’s £10million asking price, despite the former Celtic man entering the final 12 months of his contract.
Monk was far keener to make use of Ki than predecessor Laudrup and he has started in each of Swansea’s five Premier League encounters so far, along with signing a new four-year contract.
“Last season Laudrup decided he wanted to use other players and it left me with a decision, and I felt I had to leave. Things are different now with Garry,” added Ki.
“I had good feelings about the team when I spoke to him and he made it easy for me to stay.
“But the decision to join Sunderland worked out well. It was tough, we did not win many games and we were always near the bottom of the table, but thankfully we stayed up which was a happy way to end my time there and in the end it worked out as a great decision for me.
“I still keep an eye on how Sunderland are doing as I do with Celtic. I like to watch out for clubs I have played for because they give you a great experience and the chance to keep developing as a player.
“I owe all of them a thanks so I do look for their scores and I like to see them do well, although Swansea is obviously my priority and I now want to make this the best season for my career, even better than last year.”
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