Few eyebrows were raised when Gustavo Poyet was given the Sunderland job, replacing the fiery Paulo Di Canio. From the moment he was appointed as manager of Brighton & Hove Albion, a job managing in the Premier League had seemed only a matter of time in arriving for the Uruguayan.
Of course, that job could have been with Brighton, given the success he achieved there, originally with very limited resources at the Withdean Stadium, winning promotion to the Championship after finishing as runaway leaders of League One in 2011, before missing out thanks to Wilfried Zaha’s brilliance for Crystal Palace during the play-offs in May.
Some have claimed that Poyet is not too dissimilar to Di Canio, and in some ways, they have a valid point. The former Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea player is outspoken and demands a lot from his players, like Di Canio.
Indeed, it was his post-match comments following the Crystal Palace defeat which cost him his job with the Seagulls. However, he is undoubtedly a lot calmer than the Italian, something that will be very evident in terms of his behaviour in the dugout.
Poyet arrives on Wearside with Sunderland in a bit of a mess. Languishing at the foot of the Premier League table with just one point, Kevin Ball could not improve results despite more commitment being shown against Liverpool and Manchester United in their previous two games.
Neat passing, and generally attractive football is likely to be encouraged by Poyet, something which brought considerable rewards at Brighton, but when you are bottom of the league and six points from safety, results matter more than anything, although the fans should at least expect a style more pleasing on the eye than that served under Di Canio and Martin O’Neill.
Poyet is under pressure to make an impact, with owner Ellis Short beginning to sack managers readily. He will be calm in the situation, but he faces a huge task in keeping a side up that has still to gel after undergoing major surgery over the summer. It is a big ask, but Poyet’s managerial statistics thus far suggest that he is up to the task.
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