Sunderland boss can’t wait for pre-season

BIG PERFORMANCE ... Sunderland manager Gus Poyet.
BIG PERFORMANCE ... Sunderland manager Gus Poyet.

GUS POYET admits he longs for a pre-season where he can cement a clear system for Sunderland.

The Sunderland head coach has predominantly used a 4-5-1 formation since arriving at the Stadium of Light two months ago.

But Poyet reverted to two strikers in last weekend’s defeat at Spurs as Steven Fletcher and Jozy Altidore were paired together for the first time in six games, although the latter was deployed in a deeper role.

Poyet believes Sunderland are still searching for a definitive system that suits the players at his disposal and can be adopted as their long-term strategy.

And the head coach says that might have to wait until pre-season training next summer – by which time he hopes Sunderland will still be a Premier League club.

Poyet said: “When I started managing at Brighton, my system was 4-4-2 and then we developed into a 4-3-3 for different reasons. It worked well for us.

“I still don’t think we have a clear system.

“Most of the time it looks like 4-3-3, but sometimes it’s very offensive and sometimes it’s not.

“I’m really looking forward to getting safe and having a beautiful summer training with the players in nice weather.

“I want them to play my way when they’re nice and relaxed.

“You don’t imagine how good it will be for me to have the time, the weather and to train and to train.”

Poyet must decide whether to persist with two frontmen or revert to a 4-5-1 for this weekend’s crunch clash at fellow strugglers West Ham.

But the Uruguayan insists he has to be flexible over formations, depending on the opposition lying in front of Sunderland.

“I try to adapt to what is needed,” added Poyet.

“I played two strikers against Newcastle in a game which I knew it would be difficult to pass in.

“Of course you have to have a shape and the shape we’ve adapted best to is the 4-3-3.

“But it doesn’t have to be like-for-like changes all the time, it depends on the game.”