Poyet wants Sunderland players to ‘rise to the occasion’ against Manchester United in Capital One semi-final

ENJOYMENT ... Gus Poyet.
ENJOYMENT ... Gus Poyet.

GUS Poyet will send his players out to enjoy themselves against Manchester United tomorrow night in their Capital One Cup semi-final first leg at the Stadium of Light.

The Sunderland boss wants his players to be as professional and as disciplined as they were on Sunday in easing past Carlisle United in the FA Cup third round.

But he also wants them to play with a sense of freedom in front of the home fans at the Stadium of Light.

“The cups have been the nicest part of the season, when you think about how tough the league has been, so let’s enjoy it,” he said.

“It’s important the players enjoy the occasion and rise to it and I don’t want them going out there feeling the pressure, I want them to see it as a chance to show how well they can do.

“The reality is - I just want to win the game.

“I don’t want to get bogged down by thinking of the second leg or whatever, I just want to win a football match at home annd then, depending on what happens, assess how we go forward in the second leg.

“We have to try to defend well, get better, not make mistakes, not give encouragement to our opponents and if we can get a few chances, let’s take them.

“Let’s not forget that this is a cup semi-final for us and our fans. We have earned the right to be there and we have to do everything to give a good account of ourselves, just like we did against Chelsea in the previous round.”

Poyet has confirmed that centre halves Modibo Diakite, Valentin Roberge and John O’Shea have all recovered from knocks and are available for selection for the cup tie.