When Gus Poyet took over Sunderland in mid-October, The Black Cats looked to be fearing the worst. However nearly four months into his reign as manager, the Uruguayan has steered Sunderland out of the bottom three and to a Carling Cup final where they will face Manchester City.
Poyet took over the North-East side after the calamitous reign of Paolo Di Canio came to and end. The Italian was sacked just five games into the current Premier League season with Sunderland bottom of the league with just one point and the team in disarray. Di Canio brought in thirteen new players and often criticised players in public but in the end, performances were so dire that Ellis Short decided to make a change early.
Morale and confidence was at an all-time low when Poyet arrived at the Stadium of Light. The strict regime under Di Canio caused several players to be outcasted and had to train with the youth sides. Phil Bardsley and Lee Cattermole didn’t stand a chance under the former regime but Poyet has seen to reinstate these players and they are revelling under their new found guidance. Adam Johnson has also rediscovered his best form and has been a key part to Poyet’s revival.
…They play a better, more attractive style of football…
It’s not just these three who seem reinvigorated under Poyet. The whole team does. They play a better, more attractive style of football. They are more of a team and work hard for one another and most importantly, the players believe in Poyet’s vision for the club.
Poyet believes he has twenty players that are good enough to start. Competition for places is great for a squad. Players work harder in training in order to impress and when they are given the opportunity to play, they know they have to perform because if they don’t, they won’t be playing the following week.
…The Black Cats have a good record against their fierce rivals…
Sunderland’s philosophy and style of football came to the fore against Newcastle in the Tyne-Wear derby. The Black Cats have a good record against their fierce rivals as of late and it continued as they outclassed The Toon 3-0.
Sunderland now have a consistency to their game. They have won 3 of their last 4 Premier League games and a mid-table finish will more than please the Sunderland faithful. A day out at Wembley in the Carling Cup final will also be special. Although Manchester City are favourites, The Black Cats have already beaten them this season and anything can happen on the day, look at Wigan in the FA Cup final last season. Poyet believes that this is only the start and things will continue to get better.
…the club can never reach their potential…
Sometimes a chairman can dismiss a manager without giving them a proper chance and the club can never reach their potential. However this time credit has to go to Ellis Short for the way he saw the club needed a change and under Poyet, the whole club has changed for the better.