SUNDERLAND boss Gus Poyet has shrugged off criticism of his team selection against Hull City – and says he stands by his tactics.
Poyet came under fire from fans in the build-up to Tuesday night’s game, and during the match itself, after picking a starting XI that lacked both width and creativity.
The Uruguayan left the likes of Ricky Alvarez and Patrick van Aanholt on the bench, and instead selected a team which contained four centre-midfielders and three centre-halves.
It was no surprise that the Black Cats struggled to create anything in the first 60 minutes, and were lucky to only trail Hull by a single goal.
The introduction of winger Alvarez and attacking full-back Van Aanholt from the bench gave Sunderland more impetus, and the latter’s run and cross created the equaliser for Jack Rodwell which earned the visitors a vital point.
It left many watchers wondering what could have been achieved if Poyet had picked a more offensive line-up from the start.
But the head coach said: “I made a decision and I stand by it.
“Ricky only trained on Monday, I wanted him fresh to make a difference (from the bench) and not in the fighting for 60 minutes. That worked, so I need to be pleased.
“And I think we had moments in the first half where we looked like we were able to maintain possession, but we were missing something in wide areas. We knew we needed to change something.”
Alvarez’s arrival for Lee Cattermole just after the hour mark spurred Sunderland into action, while Van Aanholt replaced Santiago Vergini, which allowed Anthony Reveillere to switch to his natural position at right-back.
“I made a decision (to make changes) which fortunately worked,” Poyet added. I’m pleased because it wasn’t the typical decisions. We tried to use the width with Patrick and Anthony. The idea was to come back in the game and the boys did that very well.”