Gus Poyet speaks out on Sunderland sacking, derby wins and his survival hopes

Gus Poyet
Gus Poyet

GUS POYET admits he couldn’t find the elusive missing element to turn around Sunderland’s fortunes before his dismissal.

It is two months since Poyet was sacked as Sunderland head coach after a run of just one win in 12 Premier League outings had left the Black Cats in the thick of the relegation dogfight.

We were missing something and I couldn’t find that something

Gus Poyet

Poyet couldn’t maintain the heights of Sunderland’s Great Escape and Capital One Cup final appearance from last season, with chairman Ellis Short bringing down the curtain on the Uruguayan’s tenure after 17 months in charge.

But while Poyet is far from the only person to blame for Sunderland’s problems this season, the ex-Chelsea midfielder didn’t look for scapegoats when he appeared on Sky Sports’ Goals on Sunday programme today.

Instead, Poyet accepted the blame for Sunderland’s struggles and conceded that he just couldn’t discover the ingredient which would convert draws into wins.

Poyet said: “We were missing something and I couldn’t find that something.

“We were very close to winning games, we drew 14, which was close to the record in the Premier League.

“And the difference between winning and losing is one action - one goal, one decision, one deflected shot, a good or bad decision from the referee.

“That can help you win two more games and then you’re still in the job.

“The difference between staying and not was very close.

“I don’t believe in luck in the long-term, but I do believe that there are certain moments when you need that change of luck which turns the season around.

“Sometimes, chairmen need to make decisions.”

Again, Poyet thanked Short for the opportunity at the Stadium of Light and praised the professional manner in which the club dealt with his dismissal.

“I’ve said it, but I want to repeat, that I thank the owner Ellis Short because he gave me a great chance,” he said.

“It’s not easy to get in the Premier League. You think you’ll get there sooner or later, but the sooner or later depends on the chairman of the clubs.

“The way we finished was exceptional as well, very professional, no issues, everything was done in the proper way.”

Looking back on his Sunderland tenure, Poyet reflected proudly on his Midas touch against Newcastle, as he steered the Black Cats to three successive derby wins over the Magpies.

“There were difficult times when we could not win a game, and then incredible days that we had in a year and a half,” he said.

“I mean incredible, that are difficult to beat.

“People stop you in the street as soon as you get to Sunderland and say you only need to do one thing here and that is beat Newcastle.

“I was pretty good against them!

“That’s the thing I’m really proud of because sometimes derbies mark your relationship with the fans.

“The three we played were very special. Different, but very special.”

Poyet’s successor, Dick Advocaat, has taken 10 points from his six games at the helm to vastly improve Sunderland’s chances of beating the drop.

And after watching Sunderland’s victory over Everton which moved them out of the relegation zone, Poyet is desperate to see his former club complete the survival job.

“Now when I’m watching Sunderland, I’m a bit more nervous!” he added.

“I want them to win more badly.

“When they were 1-0 up and Everton were coming, you want to watch, but don’t want to watch.

“I just want them to stay up because that was my job and there is plenty of people and players at the club that I care a lot for, and I want them to stay in the Premier League.”