We need stability – Poyet

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Published: Sunday 26th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Gus Poyet has admitted Sunderland cannot afford to rebuild their team every summer if they are to secure the stability they crave.

The Black Cats head coach presided over yet another major overhaul of the squad last summer after pulling off an unlikely escape act from the jaws of relegation.

But two and a half months into the new campaign, the 46-year-old Uruguayan finds himself fighting fires once again with his team having succumbed to a self-inflicted 2-0 home defeat by Arsenal on Saturday – seven days after being trounced 8-0 at Southampton.

Poyet was in contemplative mood after another soul-destroying reverse, but pointed to the continuity in Arsene Wenger’s squad compared to the state of flux in his as he started the process of analysing just what had gone wrong.

He said: “I’ll tell you one instance that you probably don’t know: eight players from the Arsenal starting line-up last year are here, they are in Arsenal’s squad; seven players from Sunderland’s starting XI last year here are not even at Sunderland.

“That shows you there is an advantage for people who have a squad that is together and you add quality and what you are missing, and another team where you start from zero every single year, and every year you need to see if you have got the characters, if you have got the quantity, if you have got the quality, if they understand the game, if they can defend as a team, if you are going to play long or short or passing…

“It’s a little bit of a disadvantage without being an excuse, but we need to make sure that we don’t do it any more. We don’t want to start next year again from zero and another seven players in the starting XI.”

It is a fact that Poyet is still trying to mould a team from the players with which he was presented by sporting director Lee Congerton during the summer, although there were only three members of the new intake among his starting XI against the Gunners – Patrick van Aanholt, Jack Rodwell and Will Buckley.

Ironically, it was two of his longer-serving and usually more dependable men who were culpable in a defeat which highlighted the club’s depressing capacity to self-harm.

The home side had held firm in the face of sustained pressure from Arsenal’s slick passing game with Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini feeding Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to place a stranglehold on the ball.

But with half an hour gone, central defender Wes Brown, under pressure from the admirable Sanchez, attempted a back-pass to Vito Mannone from the best part of 50 yards, but only managed to scuff the ball into the Chile international’s path and saw him sprint away before lifting a delicate shot over the advancing keeper.

To their credit, the Black Cats rallied after the break and made a genuine fist of forcing their way back into the game, only to succumb once again at the death when Mannone, who was beaten three times last weekend by team-mates, allowed Buckley’s back-pass to get away from him and Sanchez pounced to double his tally.

Poyet said: “They are human beings and anything can happen on a football pitch. These are actions that I don’t think can repeat themselves, I don’t think you can train for them.

“They are just mistakes that happen in football and, unfortunately, it’s going a little bit against us at the moment.”

If Poyet and his players face another long and difficult week – they travel to Crystal Palace next Monday evening – Arsenal headed south having brought a tough few days to a more than satisfactory conclusion and purring over summer acquisition Sanchez.

Oxlade-Chamberlain told the club’s official website, www.arsenal.com: “He’s a world-class player – everyone saw that at the World Cup. He’s proved that and he’s played for Barcelona, where we’ve all seen what he’s done.

“He’s an unbelievable player and part of his game is his character and his hard work – that’s where he’s got both his goals from.

“He reminds me of Luis Suarez when he chases everything down and he makes nothing into something. He’s done that for us twice today and he’s scored goals at important times for us.”

Published: Sunday 26th October 2014 by The News Editor

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