Sunderland boss hails his ‘professionals’ after win at Man Utd

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet celebrates after his teams 1-0 win with Manchester United interim manager Ryan Giggs (left)
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet celebrates after his teams 1-0 win with Manchester United interim manager Ryan Giggs (left)

THIS was Sunderland’s first win at Old Trafford since 1968.

And Gus Poyet hailed the vital contributions of a string of players who might not be at the Stadium of Light next season.

The Black Cats have 10 players whose temporary or permanent contracts will expire at the club next month.

But despite that, it is clear that the players involved in Sunderland’s four-game unbeaten run have been giving absolutely everything to help the club pull of a remarkable run which virtually ensured their Premier League survival at the weekend.

“They have been fantastic professionals,” said Poyet.

“It would have been so easy for the out of contract players - and we had something like five of them playing against Man United - so easy for them to have given up on Sunderland and started to think about next season.

“They did not do that.

“They are here.

“They are fighting for the club, for the fans, for themselves and they don’t want to go down - they won’t accept it.

“We have Marcos Alonso due to go back to Fiorentina at the end of the season,, Santiago Vergini doesn’t have a contract for next season, Seb Larsson and Jack Colback are both set to finish their contracts while Fabio Borini returns to Liverpool at the end of his loan.

“It’s a lot of players to have playing for you who might not be part of the long-term future of the club.

“But they don’t want relegation on their CV and they have shown that with their performances.

”They have been superb for us. The only time United came close to scoring in the opening 15 minutes was when John O’Shea nearly turned the ball into his own net from Carrick’s cross.

Another United old boy - Wes Brown - then put a crucial block in to deny Nani, who then picked himself up before curling over from 20 yards.

Patrice Evra bundled his way through the crowd, but his weak header was easily collected by Vito Mannone.

It was all a bit lacklustre from the hosts.

Young and Nani used their trickery to try to get past their markers, but there was no one in the box to convert.

Hernandez, making his fifth league start of the year, dropped too deep, leaving United without a focal point up front.

Giggs had seen enough. With 26 minutes on the clock he came to the touchline for the first time to stand over his players.

Four minutes later his mood worsened as Sunderland took the lead.

Fletcher inexplicably allowed Wickham to send over a cross which Larsson expertly finished after giving Carrick the slip.

If Giggs hoped that would kick his team into gear then he was wrong.

United were just as flat and unimaginative until the break, with Juan Mata the only man to test Mannone courtesy of a low drive.

Soon after the restart the United fans started voicing their frustration as the home team passed the ball across midfield without, seemingly devoid of any idea how to pierce the Sunderland back four.

United upped the tempo briefly near the half way point of the second period. Evra crossed for Hernandez, but Brown intervened just as the Mexican was about to shoot.

Nemanja Vidic appealed for a penalty when his header struck Lee Cattermole in the box, but Howard Webb waved play on.

Giggs replaced Nani with Adnan Januzaj, who scored two goals in the reverse fixture.

Then Van Persie entered, along with Danny Welbeck, for his first game in more than six weeks.

Sunderland should have put the result beyond doubt with 17 minutes to go, but Giaccherini’s weak shot from a cross by fellow substitute Jozy Altidore hit a post and bounced out to safety.

A huge amount of United fans headed for the exits 10 minutes before the end.

Borini almost made it 2-0 when he struck the bar, but one goal proved enough for Poyet, who jumped for joy when the final whistle went.

A large number of the United fans who remained booed their team off.

The manager may have changed, but the club’s awful home form continues.