Sunderland have to save season before January transfer window opens

MOVE ON ... Sunderland manager Gus Poyet
MOVE ON ... Sunderland manager Gus Poyet

GUS Poyet is determined to re-jig Sunderland’s squad in the January transfer window but says the current group of players have to save the Black Cats’ season before then.

“I’m working on changing things in January, that’s for sure,” he revealed, as he looked ahead to the New Year in the wake of a dispiriting defeat to Spurs.

“But that doesn’t affect my thinking about now.

“There are things going on behind the scenes in terms of the transfer window - that hasn’t changed - and I’m confident they will happen.

“How big the changes will be I don’t know just yet.

“But we need results now, in our next few games and now it is about personality and attitude - about winning the ball, using it well and winning it back.”

The head coach promised to take his players back to basics this week and ‘hammer’ them until they get the message into their heads of how to play throughout games.

“There is a gap between us and the other teams so we need to be spot on,” he said,

“That means us making good decisions - no own goals, no conceding silly goals - in other words do the basics right for the 94 minutes of the game week in week out.

“Me? I keep coaching and I will be hammering them again this week,.

“You have to learn quick here or you have a hole in your head because I will be hammering away at you.

“Is there another way? I don’t think so.

“Against Spurs we were competing first half - I’m not saying we were great - it was a slow game, we had a couple of chances either side but we were good enough to take the lead.

“And that’s where you need to be solid and not mistakes and stay ahead in the game because we need to fight for our lives.

“We conceded at the wrong times - just before half time, then straight away in second-half and things changed - but the fact is that the second-half performance wasn’t good enough.

“The second half was a big list of what was wrong about us and what we need to put right.

“The problem is that we have had too many poor spells.

“ I’m not prepared to accept excuses for that.

“So we will reflect and analyse the game and we will look to take it from there.

“We have to keep convincing the players and I think they accept what they are trying to do.

“It is not an individual player who is the problem - if it was an individual it would be a problem easily solved, you just drop him.

“It is the players on the pitch, all together, collectively.

“The problem we have is that the team is not strong enough to understand exactly what we need to do all the way through the game.

“Football is about more than running up and down it is about working together.”