GUS POYET plans to speak with Sunderland owner Ellis Short today as the club looks to move forward in the transfer window following Roberto De Fanti's sacking.
Short dismissed the director of football on Friday only seven months into his post on Wearside after growing increasingly frustrated by the club's struggle at the bottom of the Premier League despite a summer influx of 14 players.
The Black Cats chairman is understood to have already started the process of replacing De Fanti, who was behind deals which saw the likes of Jozy Altidore, Cabral, Charis Mavrias and Modibo Diakite arrive during the close season.
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The timing of De Fanti's sacking has raised eyebrows given the fact Poyet is in the middle of trying to strengthen his squad during the transfer window, but the Black Cats boss is confident the Italian's departure will not affect his attempts to sign players this month.
Poyet revealed a deal to bring Estudiantes defender Santiago Vergini was close to being compete and he hopes to be able to press forward with other targets this week.
It emerged yesterday that Brighton midfielder Liam Bridcutt failed to show up for his side’s game at Derby County after telling manager Oscar Garcia he wasn’t focused on the game. Bridcutt has the subject of a £2.5m bid from the Black Cats, but Brighton rejected the approach and a transfer request from the player, who is keen to rejoin former Seagulls boss Poyet at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland came from behind to earn a vital point at home to Southampton, despite a diabolical first-half, and Poyet admits their performance is a concern going into Wednesday night's Capital One Cup semi-final second leg with Manchester United.
First half strikes from Jay Rodriquez and Dejan Lovren sent shockwaves around the ground, but despite Fabio Borini and Adam Johnson both scoring to earn a draw, Poyet has warned his side they will have to improve ahead of the trip to Old Trafford.
"If we go to Manchester on Wednesday and play like we did for the first 30 minutes, we're out, for sure," said Poyet.
"Now let's make sure we make better decisions and me first, picking the right team. And then we need to make the right decisions on passing and movement and reading the game. I can tell you it was very poor for 28, 29 minutes. Let's hope everything goes the other way now.
"We were terrible for half an hour, we scored a goal and then everybody reacted. We are all looking for perfection and in our position in the table it's not easy. I imagine the teams at the top of the table are looking for perfection, too, but sometimes you don't achieve it when you're at the bottom.
"We got something today from being poor, so I'm trying to be as positive as possible."
Poyet cleared up the mystery surrounding Steven Fletcher, who didn't take part in the warm-up despite being named on the bench.
The Scottish forward, who replaced Jozy Altidore late in the game, has been linked with a move away from the club this month, but the Black Cats boss revealed Fletcher had been nursing an injury prior to the game.
He said: "Fletch wasn't even moving so I asked him if he was able to take a risk for the club and his team-mates and the fans.
"It wasn't about keeping him for Wednesday, he had a little inflammation in his Achilles and you never know. It can get worse with an Achilles injury. It's a tricky injury.
"We told him not to go over the top but I said to him 'I might need you' and he said 'ok, I'm happy with that'. He warmed up on the bike indoors. We called him up and he went on and gave us a very good 20 minutes.
"Sometimes you need to thank the player. I know they're getting paid well, but on another day if he gets injured, I would feel responsible for that, so credit to him."
A chorus of boos echoed around the stadium when Lovren put Southampton two-up with the home supporters less than impressed by their side's display.
The Black Cats haven't won a league game on home soil since early November, but Poyet insists the crowd's frustrations are not having a negative effect on his side.
"It is difficult for the players individually and depending on how many it affects then it starts to spread in the team," the Black Cats boss said. "We ask the fans a lot and I was the first to ask for their support and to give as much as they can and we will give them something back."