For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Dinner date is ideal derby preparation for Poyet's Sunderland
GUS POYET took his Sunderland players out for a pre-derby meal last night believing Sunderland now have the stomach to end the wait for a Premier League win against Newcastle United this Sunday.
After starting his tenure on Wearside with a miserable 4-0 defeat at Swansea City last weekend, the South American sensed his squad needed greater togetherness ahead of the volatile Wear-Tyne derby.
After a summer of huge change at Sunderland, Poyet will lead the group of players he has inherited in to the visit of Newcastle on the back of picking up just a solitary point from the first 24 available to them.
Such a low tally has taken its toll on a squad that had 14 new faces introduced in to it during the summer. Poyet believes the team spirit within the camp needs plenty of work.
The former Brighton boss said: “I think it's important. We need to spend time together, talk about things, whatever it is. Sometimes you know a player better when you know something about his life. Maybe there's someone having a problem at home and we don't know. I haven't been in the middle of meetings saying, 'How's your wife, how's your family?' Sometimes in this situation you learn plenty things about the rest. Slowly, you build up a bond.”
The tab for last night's dinner was picked up by the club, although Poyet admits Sunderland owner Ellis Short is unlikely to be as generous if the players fail to follow the night out up with a performance over Newcastle.
"I said I would pick up the bill and I am lucky the club backed me up on this one,” said Poyet. “It was all the staff that travelled to Swansea plus the players. I will be there. Only once. It is not about having a laugh. It is about getting together. I cannot ask the fans and the club to be together and us, the main one, not to be together. We need to be together.
“If we play poorly I do not think they will allow me to pay for 50 or 60 people again! I think it should be regular but I will not be involved any more after this.”
The next time the group head out for a get-together, Poyet insists he will be leaving it to the players to sort.
Having them take control of certain situations was something Paolo Di Canio – who never took the group out during his six months in charge - was reluctant to allow. His successor, however, wants to see leadership.
"When you are in charge you have to make sure you are leading by example,” said Poyet. “You have to be up for it on Monday morning. You are making sure everybody is right and you are doing your job.
"There are different types of leaders. It is very easy to be strong and shout and show that you care but at the end of the day it is a football game and you need to play football.
“We always talk about leaders. The leaders need to be the right ones in the right way. I think we have got, on paper, plenty leaders. What a perfect game to see those leaders.”
Poyet was given something of a baptism of fire at the Liberty Stadium last Saturday and is desperate to avoid an even more harrowing result in his second game in charge.
He is acutely aware of the 3-0 victory Di Canio enjoyed at St James' Park in April, although his focus has been purely on preparations for this week – and he is desperate to succeed.
He said: "I need to be right. It is a special game. I always feel responsible. I am the one picking the team. If I pick the wrong team we have less chance of winning. There are specific areas of the team I need to be very careful with for that game.
"I want to enjoy this job. I don't want to have a heart attack or lose my hair being here. The longer this goes I will probably go bald because of the way I am. I want to be able to enjoy Sunday night with my family. Have a nice meal and talk about how good this was, a goal, or the action, or whatever. That is what I want."
One of Poyet's biggest gambles on Sunday will be naming Wes Brown in his starting line-up for his first competitive appearance in 21 months.
The former Manchester United defender has had one set-back after another since arriving from Old Trafford but he has come through the last fortnight's training fine.
Poyet said: “Brown does have a chance. He is closer. He has trained all week so we have to wait and see if his body takes all the strains we put on him. We will make a decision on whether he plays over Friday and Saturday.”
Comments are closed on this article.