Why Sunderland boss Poyet goes with the Flo

Tore Andre Flo, in his Sunderland days, battles West Brom defender Darren Moore
Tore Andre Flo, in his Sunderland days, battles West Brom defender Darren Moore
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TORE ANDRE Flo is still a name which sends shivers down the spine of even the most hardy Sunderland fan.

After that debut goal against Manchester United back in August 2002, the £7million frontman was the most high profile of Peter Reid’s attempts to replace Niall Quinn.

However, the Norwegian, far better with his feet than his head, was not a lot better than Lilian Laslandes in filling that key targetman role in Reid’s side.

But the memories of Flo are far more favourable for Sunderland boss Gus Poyet, who spent three years alongside the striker at Chelsea.

Flo was Chelsea’s equivalent of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer; the super-sub who netted 50 goals in all competitions for the club.

The Uruguayan is a firm disciple of the doctrine that substitutes can change the entire complexion of a game.

And with Poyet now presiding over a Sunderland squad that has several players pushing hard for inclusion in the starting XI, he is looking for a Flo-esque figure to emerge from the bench.

“I remember the best sub I ever saw, Tore Andre Flo,” Poyet told the Football Echo.

“He was unbelievable coming off the bench and then, of course, the manager wanted to play him.

“But it was more difficult from the beginning.

“When you get on with 20 minutes to go, everyone is tired and a good player with ability, makes an impact for sure.

“But can they do that from the beginning? That’s the challenge.

“It’s a difficult one.

“It happened with Jonno (Adam Johnson) last year. We were using him all the time, then I needed to change something and we put him on the bench and he played the last 30.

“I think it’s about the balance.”

Emanuele Giaccherini has been the substitute who has most regularly made an impact during Poyet’s stewardship.

In last season’s escape from the drop, Giaccherini made two goals at Manchester City, and scored and assisted another two in the 4-0 rout over Cardiff.

Giaccherini is at the forefront of Poyet’s thoughts for a place in the starting XI, but the former Brighton boss insists that the Italian international understands if he is called upon to make an impact from the start or from the bench.

“We talk with them a lot and he knows that he’s there,” added Poyet.

“If he plays, he knows why he is playing and if he doesn’t, he knows how close he is to playing.

“I always challenge the players to be in the team when we click.”

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