Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cats Coach Will Not Get Short Shrift; Under-Fire Boss Has Backing of Short

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cats Coach Will Not Get Short Shrift; Under-Fire Boss Has Backing of Short

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner Sports Writer

TWELVE months ago, with his Sunderland team just outside the Premier League relegation zone with only 31 points to their name and seven matches to play, Ellis Short felt he had no choice but to sack Martin O'Neill.

At the same stage of this season they are six points worse off, bottom of the table, seven points from survival and with their coach adamant they need a "miracle" to survive.

Yet Gustavo Poyet insists he still has the full backing of the club's Texan owner.

"The message from the owner is support. Total support," he said, ahead of today's game at home to Champions League-chasing Everton. "I spoke to him this week and he totally supports (me). He made a decision and he is standing by it until the end.

"I don't need to tell you what we said to each other, but it was natural and straight-forward. We spoke about the situation and why we decided to stick together until the end."

If the man who matters most is standing steadfast, others are not so sure.

Monday's televised 5-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur was alarming for its manner as much as its scale.

The goals conceded after taking the lead through Lee Cattermole were those of a bedraggled and demoralised side and the fact Poyet has tried a new formation in the last three matches - all lost - has added to the criticism.

In his defence, he inherited a hopeless situa-tion from Paolo Di Canio and, while he looks unlikely now to rescue the Black Cats from it, he has at least provided some highlights.

"It's difficult to say," Poyet replied when asked if any other manager could have done better in his predicament. " "What I can tell you is, if you ask the fans if they would like to be in this situation now, having beaten Newcastle twice and been 1-0 up in the (League Cup) final against Manchester City, I wonder how many would say they would take it.

"Me, I don't. I came here with one thing in my mind - to get safe. …

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