GUS POYET says Sunderland have to put the past behind them and adopt a contrasting blueprint to the heights of the Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips era.
There was little evidence of style from Sunderland in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Liverpool, as the Black Cats slipped to just a point above the relegation zone following a woeful Stadium of Light display.
Poyet conceded afterwards that he was expecting to see more of his possession-based philosophy on show by this stage of his 15-month tenure.
But when asked whether Sunderland needed to produce more of the high-tempo style which became a characteristic of Peter Reid’s successful Black Cats side at the turn of the millennium, Poyet insists that the clock cannot be turned back.
The head coach is convinced that his approach will ultimately reap dividends, but believes it will take time and patience after years of struggle since Reid’s team disbanded, other than one 10th placed finish under Steve Bruce.
“They are the characteristics of one team of Sunderland – the one with Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn,” said Poyet.
“The rest of the teams of Sunderland since then didn’t have any characteristics.
“They were rubbish, in for relegation and suffering.
“I’m trying something. My way.
“It’s the only part that worries me a little bit – not the position in the table, not the wins or losses. It’s how far we are from what I want.
“I’m just saying what I feel and I’m trying to make sure we are better.
“I think Sunderland have been in the top 10 over the last 15 years once and a half.
“The rest were always in bad positions or suffering.
“The year they were better than the rest, they had a player (Darren Bent) who scored 24 goals.
“When that player left, nobody has scored more than 15 since. It’s very simple, it’s not difficult.
“I cannot go backwards. Niall Quinn retired years ago and Kevin Phillips is a coach at Leicester. We cannot go back to that team.
“We need to find a way together. If it’s wrong, we’ll see.”
Poyet arrived at Sunderland in October 2013 with a reputation for possession-based football after enjoying success in that manner with former club Brighton.
However, aside from mustering just one meaningful effort on goal against Liverpool, Sunderland were sloppy and sluggish on the ball, with Poyet conceding that the Black Cats need to improve in that department.
“I’m disappointed the team is not playing in a certain way,” he added.
“I think we’re better technically than what we’re showing.
“I thought we were more adaptable and more intelligent on the pitch, but we’re not.
“I’m disappointed because I thought by now I would have a better impact on how the team plays,”