Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cats Fans Living in the Past - Poyet; Black Cats Coach Risks Angering Support with 'Living in Past' Comment

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cats Fans Living in the Past - Poyet; Black Cats Coach Risks Angering Support with 'Living in Past' Comment

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner @sturayner

GUSTAVO Poyet believes Sunderland's supporters are still behind him and his team, but he has risked that by accusing them of "living in the past".

The Black Cats were booed off at the end of a FA Cup fourth-round performance against Fulham woefully lacking imagination and urgency. Their seventh 0-0 draw this season ensured a replay at Craven Cottage a week tomorrow.

In a curious and sometimes contradictory post-match Press conference, Poyet (pictured right) also said he was worried by how his players are reacting to the atmosphere at the Stadium of Light, where Sunderland have won only twice this term.

And while he conceded his team is "not nice to watch" he is not prepared to play the football of the Peter Reid era.

Poyet was asked if he would describe it as "kick and rush". "Yes, I think it was," he replied. "It was excellent and worked perfectly for (strikers Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips) in particular. It is a way of playing and I respect it. But I don't think too many teams in the Premier League play it now.

"In theory it could work but in reality it is impossible because of the certain qualities you lose.

"It is up to me to find a solution to connect with the fans through better play, whatever that system is, whether through passing, or long. I am responsible.

"It is not nice to watch, I can understand that. All I can say is I promise you I will try to find a way to bring more excitement to the stadium."

Sunderland finished seventh in the Premier League in 1999-2000 and 2000-01, their highest top-division finish since 1955.

Poyet said more than once on Saturday: "I am sorry I can't bring Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips Turn to Page 46 FROM BACK PAGE back." He believes that is what supporters want. "I think they are still living in the past," he said.

"Are you telling me I should be playing that game. Me? Today it is totally different. I don't think it is a way of playing."

He then contradicted himself by saying, "It is a good way to play, I understand it and I think it is possible to play that way with the right players. If you find a team against you that is going to pass the ball it could be hard to play that way. …

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