SUNDERLAND head coach Gus Poyet has admitted he would willingly swap places with arch-rivals Newcastle as he attempts to drag the club back from the brink of relegation.
The Black Cats head into a daunting visit to title-chasing Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening knowing their Barclays Premier League destiny could be all but decided if they emerge with a sixth-successive defeat with seven points currently separating them from safety.
Poyet admitted after Saturday’s 1-0 home reverse at the hands of high-flying Everton that a root and branch review of the club is required if it is to ever release itself from a seemingly perennial tailspin which is sucking back towards the Football League.
And he has cast an envious eye along the road to Newcastle, where counterpart Alan Pardew finds himself entrenched in a battle to win over his club’s fans despite the Magpies sitting ninth place in the table.
Asked to characterise the challenge of managing in the north-east, Poyet said: “The most important part, which is the fans, they love it, they love football and they are desperate to do well.
“Go across the river and go to Newcastle – they are in an unbelievable situation in the table and there is a nightmare.
“Can we change over? Because that is a great problem to have, to be ninth?
“Why? Because it’s that drive to get better all the time and to be always on top and it doesn’t matter how many games you have won in the past because you need to win the next.
“That part of football, I love it because it’s the best way to do it, to try to get better all the time.
“In terms of mentality for me, it’s perfect, the north-east. It’s always better if you finish ninth instead of 10th, and I am like that.
“The problem is at the moment it is so bad that it’s not enjoyable, so the idea is to make sure that we don’t put ourselves in this situation anymore.
“It doesn’t matter who is the manager, I am talking about the club now, the club itself.”