Poyet sees different role for on-loan Ki

The Northern Echo: Poyet sees different role for on-loan Ki Poyet sees different role for on-loan Ki

GUS POYET will wait and see whether to sign Ki Sung-Yueng permanently - but has revealed that he may have a different role for the rest of the season.

The South Korean midfielder, on loan to Sunderland from Swansea City, has played much of his football for the Black Cats at the base of Poyet’s midfield in front of the defenders, but was employed in an advanced role in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at West Ham United.

Lee Cattermole returned to Sunderland’s starting line-up which pushed Ki into more of an attacking position, and the former Celtic man thrived in a less combative role.

Poyet feels that Ki is a better prospect further up the pitch despite the player’s wishes to fill a defensive role for Sunderland.

“We had a chat with Ki. He prefers to play in front of the back four, but of course you need to work a lot defensively, and he's not that type of player,” said Poyet.

“So we said to him that we'd give him a chance to play forward. He can pass the ball, he's not the type of player where the ball is flying over his head, it could be interesting for us if he plays there again, it could be an option for us.

When pressed on his prospects of moving to the Stadium of Light permanently, Poyet said: “It's not in our hands, at the moment. It's up to Swansea and not up to us.”

While Ki has been excellent in the defensive role vacated by Cattermole after his dismissal a month ago at Hull City, the Stockton-born schemer returned to form in some style at Upton Park, which impressed his manager.

“I'm glad he played, and I'm glad he played well”, said Poyet, noting that the referee on Saturday - Andre Marriner - was the same that dismissed Cattermole at Hull. “He was one of our best players, in a game for him that was difficult to play.

"He knew that at any time there could have been a similar situation, or something that happened between Lee and Marriner, and I'm pleased that both had a good game and nothing happened.”

While a point in the capital was not ideal for Sunderland, who remain bottom, five points adrift of 17th-placed West Ham, Poyet is confident that his team can get the results to get out of danger heading into the Christmas period - as long as the games are ‘normal’.

“It's one of the things I keep looking at,” said Poyet. “There is going to be a time when it becomes practically impossible but the only thing we can do is to believe in what we do, to make sure we play like we did on Saturday, and we will start winning games.

“Sometimes it's not in your hands, decisions, other factors. The two games we played away from home that were normal (West Ham and Aston Villa) we got a point in each. The other ones were abnormal, two own goals, two sendings off, a wrong decision from the referee, always something happened. I'm not asking for a lot, I'm asking for normal games.”

In Premier League history, only West Bromwich Albion avoided the drop after being bottom at Christmas, and Poyet added: “Before West Brom did it there was no-one, it's just a statistic, and it's real. If you're at the bottom you're the worst team. Now, I'd hope you would agree with me that on Saturday we weren't the worst team in the league.”

Poyet will now focus his efforts on tomorrow’s Capital One Cup quarter-final against Chelsea, with the Uruguayan promising to field a strong side against Jose Mourinho’s side at the Stadium of Light.

Poyet said: “I was waiting to see how we went on Saturday. I said let's wait. If it was going to be a game where it was a disaster, we couldn't pass the ball, and it wasn't my team, then we need a shock to change completely.

“But after Saturday it's clear we need to look for consistency. So maybe two, three or four changes. But no more than that. I need to take these games seriously. Last time against Southampton, we played well and we went on to win against Man City. Let's see if we can repeat that and do well and then beat Norwich.

“Hopefully it's not a crazy game like before, hopefully it's normal. And if we score three we will win the game.”

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