Johnson still key for Sunderland – Poyet

Sunderland manager Gustavo Poyet has insisted that winger Adam Johnson remains a key player for the club despite recently finding himself out of the team, reports the Daily Express.

The former Middlesbrough and Manchester City player was an unused substitute for Monday’s 3-1 victory away to Crystal Palace, a decision from Poyet which provoked talk of a rift between the pair.

But the Uruguayan is adamant that Johnson was left out for tactical reasons and nothing personal. He said: “It’s about how we play and perform and how we use Jonno. I’m convinced it wasn’t a game for Jonno on Monday, but there are games where we need him and it’s a mix of us playing better and him coming in to give us what he can.

“I know him from when he was younger on loan at Leeds United and I know what kind of kid he was then and the player he is now. It’s something we need to improve all together.”

Meanwhile, having earned that win at Selhurst Park, Poyet is aware that his side must kick on. “We need to make sure we don’t relax after a win. We need to build on it and improve that mentality,’ he added. It’s up to the players not to relax and make sure you win as many as possible as soon as possible and that makes us a more difficult team to play against. We need to move up to that next level.’

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