GUS POYET wants to avoid further embarrassment in the FA Cup tomorrow after revealing fears that Sunderland’s current squad is not good enough to stay in the Premier League.
Poyet has already made Fiorentina left-back Marcos Alonso his first signing of the transfer window and he is determined to make a few more before the January 31 deadline.
The Sunderland boss has become increasingly frustrated with his team’s inability to climb off the foot of the Premier League since succeeding Paolo Di Canio and that has increased his interest in the January sales.
The New Year’s Day defeat to Aston Villa left the Black Cats four points adrift of safety and Poyet described how the loss had left him “fed up”.
He still holds similar feelings now and suggested new signings might be the only way to safeguard Sunderland’s top-flight future. “I think the situation is that we’ve been here now (bottom of the league) this season for five months,” said Poyet. “I’m not just talking about me, (I’m talking about) the previous manager and Kevin Ball as a caretaker with this group of players and we’re still bottom.
“So I’m going to change something, that’s for sure. I’m not going to go with the same group of players to the end because if I do it’s going to be more difficult.
“I need to choose well and make sure that we get the ones that can really help us to change the season around. That’s simple. I can give you a number (of players I want) but it’s so insecure, it can change at any time. We need a little bit of help. We’ll see.”
Starting 2014 with a defeat to Villa has convinced Poyet – whose side face Carlisle United tomorrow in the FA Cup third round - that certain areas of his team needs improvement, which could lead to players leaving this month.
He said: “I think I’m realistic. I’m not really a stats man but look at the stats. I see managers saying the more you put the ball in the box then the more chances you get to score.
“Fair enough, that’s great. We had 21 shots in one game, 19 in another and 16 the other day and hit the target once. Well how many do we need to score a goal? 50? No, you need more quality.”
Rather than single certain players out, Poyet would rather talk collectively of his team and he thinks there have been far too many mistakes this season for him to believe there is a quick-fix with what he has at his disposal.
The Uruguayan said: “Every time we are in a position to win a football game in the best position for the position we’re in, something happens.
“I’m talking about football: we couldn’t win a game, we beat Newcastle. Then two sending-offs, bang. Then we go back and beat Southampton and Manchester City and it’s the only game they haven’t scored a goal.
“Then we go to Stoke and get a bad decision by the referee. Then a great performance against Aston Villa but can’t score from two yards.
“Then against Chelsea it’s like a basketball game. It’s always something. When everything is there we make the biggest mistake of the season (against Villa) at the back.
“The most difficult thing in any sport is consistency. Anyone can have a good game or a bad game but to be good all the time: those are the good ones.
“I’m not asking for 10/10 all the time. If every single player gives me seven in every game we’re going to win plenty of games but we don’t get to seven.”
The break from the Premier League struggles could provide some light relief over the next few days. After tomorrow’s visit of Carlisle in the FA Cup, Sunderland face Manchester United at the Stadium of Light in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg.
And Poyet demands the team he sends out against League One’s Cumbrians, backed by 5,600 away fans, deliver by ensuring they record a result which prevents this frustrating season getting even worse.
“I’d be embarrassed if we went out,” said the Sunderland boss, who revealed goalkeeper Keiren Westwood will be lucky to play again this season after having surgery on his shoulder postponed.
“It is embarrassing. The situation depends on how you go into the game and how you take it. I am looking forward to the game.
“I remember one of my first games was in the FA Cup for Chelsea and there were so many photographers taking pictures and I didn’t understand why.
“They said they wanted to see if we were the ones who got knocked out by a lower league club, for the papers on Monday. We have to make sure we are not in the papers for the wrong reasons on Monday.”
* Sunderland youngster Liam Marrs, 21, has extended his youth loan with Boston United until January 31.
* THE date and time of next month's Tyne-Wear derby has been confirmed, with Newcastle United hosting Sunderland at St James' Park on Saturday, February 1 (ko 12.45pm).
Unexpectedly, the game has not been selected for live television coverage by either Sky or BT Sport.