GUS POYET admits he has struggled to control his emotions during Sunderland’s fight for Premier League survival, but revealed he has never given up hope of guiding the club to safety even when others had written them off.
The Black Cats took a huge step towards maintaining their top flight status after Sunday’s crucial 4-0 win over fellow strugglers Cardiff City at the Stadium of Light.
The win moved the Wearsiders out of the bottom three on goal difference and they will look to improve their position further this weekend even though they head to Old Trafford to face a resurgent Manchester United under Ryan Giggs.
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Sunderland were six points adrift at the bottom of the table when Poyet took over, but despite an improvement in performances the Wearsiders have remained in the bottom three until now.
A run of five straight defeats from the end of March piled the pressure on Poyet, who looked visibly upset following the 5-1 defeat to Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
The Black Cats boss had cut a frustrated figure in several post-match interviews, but he has continued to keep his cool despite shouldering the hopes of Wearside to steer Sunderland away from relegation.
“In terms of what I believe, I am still the same. But I am a human being,” Poyet said.
“Over three months, you can try to hide your emotion, but like any other person, there is a limit. Maybe I’m not that good an actor. There were moments in the season that were difficult.
“You could see it in my face and my expressions. Why? Because I’m realistic, but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in something special or unique, that’s always possible in football.
“I said I was getting fed up after a game at home we couldn’t win against Norwich, and the Norwich game away was another low point. So we can blame Norwich!
“It’s natural because you are always convinced that what you are doing is the right thing. Then when weeks go past, and it doesn’t happen, it’s natural to be disappointed.
“I care a lot, I want to say too much, but I will just say a lot, for the club I work for. I need to control my emotions, but I am a human being.
“I can control my emotions for a while, but I’m still learning to control it for a long time. That doesn’t mean I’m going to control it forever, it’s not that easy.”
Having taken four points from Manchester City and Chelsea in recent weeks, Sunderland will attempt to produce another unlikely result when they face the Red Devils on Saturday.
The reigning Premier League champions were 4-0 winners over Norwich City last weekend in Ryan Giggs’ first game in charge since replacing the sacked David Moyes.
And they could be handed a further boost for Sunderland’s visit with the news Robin van Persie could make a surprise return from injury.
The Black Cats have had their own attacking boost of late with the form of Connor Wickham, who has scored five in three, and midfielder Adam Johnson believes the fact the side has posed threats from different areas has been the key.
“It is important to not just have one threat,” Johnson said.
“Even if you look at the top teams, they have an individual, but if he is not doing it one day or getting marked out of the game, there is always somebody else to do it.
“Relying on one or two people is difficult in a team of 11.
“Teams are just going to pinpoint one person and think if he does not play the team won’t.
“I think that has probably been our trouble throughout the season - we have not had enough people on it at once.”