Poyet - Sunderland will change system after Jermain Defoe signing

Jermain Defoe at the Academy of Light. Picture by Ian Horrocks
Jermain Defoe at the Academy of Light. Picture by Ian Horrocks

GUS POYET says Sunderland will tweak their system to accommodate the presence of new signing Jermain Defoe.

The England striker’s switch to Sunderland was confirmed today and he is expected to make his Black Cats bow in tomorrow’s trip to former club Spurs after receiving the necessary international clearance.

Sunderland have stuck to a 4-1-4-1 formation under Poyet this season, having worked on that system throughout the summer.

But with arch-predator Defoe primarily thriving in a front two, Sunderland have been working on the training field over recent days on changing their approach.

And while head coach Poyet admits there may not be an immediate change at White Hart Lane tomorrow, he is planning to field two strikers in the subsequent home games against Fulham and Burnley.

Poyet said today: “Yes we’ll have to change and we’ve already trained on it this week. It didn’t look fantastic, but it was the first time!

“I think tomorrow is a little bit too early, but we’ll work again next week.

“Jermain will be involved tomorrow. Something really strange will have to happen for him not to be.

“We’ll train again next week and try one of the options against Fulham because there’s two or three options with two up front.

“Hopefully against Burnley, everything is clear and we can go with a new formation.”

Poyet was in a buoyant mood today, and believes the capture of Defoe - which sees Sunderland flop Jozy Altidore move in the other direction to MLS side Toronto FC - is a deal which suits everyone.

Defoe was keen to return to the Premier League after an injury-hit year at Toronto.

And US international Altidore equally needed a fresh start after just one league goal during a miserable 18-month spell at the Stadium of Light.

Poyet added: “I would say that what’s happened is something that doesn’t happen a lot in football. It’s close to perfection.

“Unfortunately it didn’t work for Jozy. Nothing else.

“You never know whether he should play more or with another striker or in a different system.

“But if you look at the stats, it didn’t work for him.

“To be in the position for him to go back home - and making many people in America very happy - and for us to get Jermain back in the Premier League, it’s like the perfect deal.

“Being respectful to everybody, we are delighted.”