Sunderland boss won’t fret over the sack

Sunderland players John O'Shea, Wes Brown and Liam Bridcutt look on as Aston Villa take a 1-0 lead against Sunderland.
Sunderland players John O'Shea, Wes Brown and Liam Bridcutt look on as Aston Villa take a 1-0 lead against Sunderland.

SACK RACE favourite Gus Poyet insists he cannot fret about Sunderland chairman Ellis Short pulling the trigger.

Poyet became odds-on with the bookies to be the next Premier League manager to lose his job after Sunderland’s abysmal 4-0 Stadium of Light rout at the hands of Aston Villa on Saturday.

I’m not going to send a message to the chairman through the press

Cats boss Gus Poyet

There have been whispers in football circles for weeks about the possibility of Sunderland and Poyet parting ways in the summer, yet club sources have persistently played down speculation about the head coach’s position being in immediate jeopardy.

Certainly, there has been a desire at Sunderland to enjoy a period of managerial stability after three changes in the dug-out in less than four years.

But Sunderland’s defeat to fellow strugglers Villa, coupled with Burnley’s shock win over Manchester City, has left the Black Cats just a point above the drop zone.

That was the same margin Sunderland boasted from the bottom three when Short relieved Martin O’Neill of his duties at a similar stage of the season two years ago.

Poyet will not walk away and knows it is his responsibility to produce a drastic change of fortunes, but says he cannot afford to worry about the inevitable speculation over his future.

“I’m not going to send a message to the chairman through the press,” said Poyet.

“I’m just doing what I need to do.

“If they call me now or tomorrow, then after that, everyone will know.

“But at the moment, I cannot think about that.

“I need to think about the job, what we did in the first half and concentrate on putting things right. Nothing else.

“I’m going to face whatever is coming. I need to take it. I’m the one in charge.

“I was doing very well at Brighton and got sacked anyway.

“Anything can happen at any time. I just need to concentrate on things that happened and why – who is ready to fight? Who is ready to do things right?”

Defeat against Villa extended Sunderland’s winless run to six Premier League games, ahead of next Saturday’s trip to a West Ham side similarly struggling for form.

But to his credit, there were no empty words from Poyet about how Sunderland will respond at Upton Park; simply a pledge to analyse what went so terribly wrong against Villa.

“I listen to that phrase all the time: ‘bounce back’,” added Poyet.

“Teams go down and everyone is talking about bouncing back the next year. They don’t and then everyone forgets what the manager was saying 12 months before.

“That’s too easy. I’m not that type of person.

“I’m going to analyse the first half very deeply and going to make decisions.

“I think people had put themselves in the team for the way they had been training or playing, and maybe a few put themselves out of the team for the way they performed on Saturday.

“The only thing I can promise is we’re going to keep working for West Ham. I’m going to work hard to put it right.”

“It’s me making decisions. There’s no-one more responsible than me.”