Poyet: Mutual understanding with new director key

RESPECT: Gus Poyet believes his relationship with the club's new director of football is key

RESPECT: Gus Poyet believes his relationship with the club's new director of football is key

First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

GUS POYET has no concerns over working under another director of football, but insists there must be a mutual understanding between the pair as Sunderland prepare to unveil Lee Congerton as Roberto de Fanti’s replacement.

The Black Cats have been keen to install another technical director despite the disastrous period under de Fanti, and owner Ellis Short, with input from Poyet, has identified Congerton, who is currently working as Hamburg’s technical director, as the ideal candidate.

De Fanti was responsible for bringing 14 new faces into the club last summer, but Sunderland have spent the entire season battling at the bottom of the Premier League and sit 19th with 12 games remaining.

Once Paolo Di Canio was sacked and replaced by Poyet, de Fanti’s position became untenable at the Stadium of Light, but the Sunderland head coach is keen to continue working as part of a model adopted by several clubs across Europe.

Congerton is well-respected within the game having spent time at Chelsea with Frank Arnesen before heading to Germany in 2011 where the director of football model is used by most clubs.

Short is keen to avoid a repeat of this season’s struggles and even though the Black Cats could still be relegated, the American does not want to give up on his preferred management structure.

Poyet has also continued to defend the structure since de Fanti’s departure, but for it to work he insists the manager and director of football must sing from the same hymn sheet.

“It’s normal all over the world,” said Poyet, who guided Sunderland to a Wembley final earlier this month. “The word technical director, sporting director can be seen as the devil but it’s normal.

“The most important thing is the relationship between the manager and that person. It needs to be spot on, it needs to be in the same direction, it needs to be spot on because otherwise it won’t work.

“For me it’s natural. I don’t worry at all. Will it work? I don’t know. I hope.”

With Congerton’s arrival imminent, it is understood the Black Cats have already started putting together a transfer strategy for the summer with the emphasis on replacing the club’s higher earners with younger, less expensive talent.

The close season is likely to involve considerable changes to Poyet’s playing staff and the Black Cats are keen to appoint their man before the end of the campaign.

That will allow Poyet to concentrate of keeping the club in the Premier League, starting with Saturday’s crucial game with Crystal Palace at the Stadium of Light.

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