Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Settled Defence the Key to Success, Says Gus

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Settled Defence the Key to Success, Says Gus

Article excerpt

Byline: James Hunter Sports Writer

GUS Poyet sees a settled back four as the key to solving Sunderland's leaky defence. The Black Cats have used four different defensive combinations in their opening seven league games, with only one change made out of necessity when skipper John O'Shea was suspended after being sent off at Crystal Palace.

Poyet feels the regular personnel changes have contributed to the club's defensive woes, with Sunderland going into the weekend having conceded 16 goals so far - the worst record in the top flight.

New boss Poyet takes charge of his first game today against Swansea City and wherever possible he intends to keep faith with the back line he picks at the Liberty Stadium.

He said: "I have analysed the formations we have used in the previous seven games.

"I have tried not to look too much into the cup games because I do not know the mentality the manager had.

"There have been plenty of changes to the back four.

"There are different reasons for that - if John O'Shea gets a red card you need a new centrehalf.

That is common sense.

"However, there have been too many changes for my liking.

"People are different over change. I see Manchester United change every game in a row and do not have a problem.

"Yet I like my defensive unit to be consistent so we know each other - so well we can help each other.

"With one word, we know where we are.

"If this is the back four, can they show me that? If yes, then they stay.

"If they do not do what we need, then you maybe give someone else a chance.

"I hope, though, we can maintain the back four as long as we can."

Poyet took the reins on Wearside during the international break and, aside from the hours he has put in on the training ground, has also devoted time to studying the videos of Sunderland's games this term. …

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