GUS POYET says Sunderland’s players have to take the responsibility of getting supporters off their seats in this weekend’s crunch clash against Burnley.
Poyet remarks after last Saturday’s stalemate against Fulham – that Sunderland supporters were still pining for the glory days of Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips – have sparked a backlash against the Black Cats boss this week.
On the back of just one Premier League win at the Stadium of Light all season, and only eight home top flight victories over the last two years, Poyet is understood to have realised his comments may have been mistimed and misterpreted.
Rather than pleading for “patience and understanding” from the close-to-capacity crowd expected for the visit of the fourth bottom Clarets, Poyet says the onus is on the team itself to provide something to shout about after such a lean spell on home turf.
Poyet said: “It’s up to us now.
“We need to give the fans something.
“We need to be more aggressive and be better in certain situations.
“We need to control the ball better.
“We. It’s we. Not the fans.
“If there’s frustration, then the only thing I ask is for them to wait until the end of the game.
“We are all human beings, in everything we do.
“If I play golf on my own, I hit a better shot than if there’s 200 people watching.
“If the crowd is a little bit tense, we all react differently, especially nowadays.
“There are plenty of teams in the bottom 10, who feel more comfortable away from home.
“That was not even achievable in my time. It was always the opposite. You knew you had an advantage at home.
“So let’s create an advantage by giving something to the fans.”
It is not just Poyet’s comments which riled supporters after the FA Cup fourth round clash against Fulham.
As a spectacle, the Fulham draw, along with the previous home game against Liverpool, have been awful to watch, with Sunderland barely mustering a shot for the opening hour.
And that will lead to Poyet urging his side to be more adventurous against Burnley, as Sunderland look to create some breathing space with the relegation zone by recording their first league win of 2015.
“We started too calm, too safe, too predictable,” admitted Poyet.
“There are plenty of things you can put into a performance, even when you’re not having a good day.
“You can show more desire than the opposition, or whatever is needed at the time.
“We’ve missed that in the first halves (during the last two home games).
“In terms of preparation, we’ve not changed a lot, but in terms of what we will say before the game? Yes, it needs to be different.
“Maybe we’ve been a bit too strict in certain aspects of the previous system.
“I saw half-an-hour against Liverpool which was completely open, crazy, but we created a few chances.
“It was a bit open against Fulham at the end. But again, we created some chances.
“I think I’ve got an opportunity, if it’s needed, to open up the game, make it very open and make it entertaining for everyone except for me!”