Johnson still a key figure for Sunderland

Adam Johnson
Adam Johnson

ADAM JOHNSON remains a vital component in Sunderland’s blueprint, insists Gus Poyet.

Johnson was an unused substitute for Monday night’s victory at Crystal Palace after being dropped to the bench following just one game back in the starting XI.

Head coach Poyet didn’t feel what developed into a scrappy encounter at Selhurst Park was the ideal game for Sunderland to make the most of Johnson’s attacking abilities.

But Poyet is eager to get the most out of Johnson as the season goes on, despite the winger’s battle to find consistency in the early stages of the campaign.

“It’s about how we play and how we perform and when we use him,” Poyet said today.

“I’m convinced Palace was not a game for him. There are others when you think you can take advantage with Adam Johnson on the pitch.

“You need to give him the ball in certain areas and it wasn’t that kind of game.

“Now, there are games when we need him.

“It’s a mix of us playing better and him giving us something extra.

“But I think it’s a good understanding. We’ve been talking and everything is clear. It’s just a matter of time before he starts making the difference for us.”

Poyet believes he has a good insight into Johnson’s character after working with him at Leeds when the Uruguayan was assistant manager and the then teenager was on loan from Middlesbrough.

And he has echoed views made by Johnson himself earlier this week that if Sunderland perform better as a whole, then the 27-year-old will begin to shine.

“I know him from when he was younger, he came on loan to Leeds when I was there with Dennis (Wise)” added Poyet.

“I know what kind of kid he was then and how he’s feeling now.

“It’s something we need to improve all together.

“We need to make sure that after a win, we don’t relax.

“No relaxing, make sure we win as many as possible, as early as possible and that will take us to another level.

“It will not only make us a difficult team to play against, but a winning team too.

“That’s something that will bring the best out of players like Adam Johnson.”

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