Pure Poyetry: Spurs dig in as Sunderland fall short

Deputy Editor Malcolm Dawson writes…Another frustrating evening at the Stadium of Light saw another defeat and to my eyes a squad of players who just aren’t good enough to compete with the better sides of the Premier League. The good news is that they are probably good enough to compete with the poorer sides and avoid the drop but today’s results from the other grounds did us few favours. The manager in his post match e-mail also seems to be struggling to explain things whilst having a grasp on reality.

Jake captures the Bard, with thanks to Owen Lennox
Jake captures the Bard, with thanks to Owen Lennox

Dear Colin,

It’s difficult to analyse the game because we were solid, we were trying to play and we scored a good goal. Then we conceded at maybe the wrong time but the second-half was very disappointing. Things happen in football and you never know the consequences – it’s a totally different game if you come in at half-time 1-0. Saying that, we talked about things at half-time and I wanted to go out in the second-half and perform because we were playing against a very good team.

Somehow again we conceded an own goal and then it was too open – we needed to go forward and create something somehow and then we leave space at the back.

At the moment it’s very difficult for the players. That’s the way I understand football and that’s the way I would like this team to play football. I’ve said it a few times and I will repeat it now, we cannot do it for long periods. That’s what we try to change, that’s why we give different options, that’s why we finish playing a little more direct, that’s why we changed the personnel.

We’re trying, nobody can say that we are not trying and the players are trying their best but the table is there and like I always say the table doesn’t lie. Other teams are winning somehow and we don’t, so there’s nothing to complain about. Every single game that comes now is bigger than the one before, we need urgency, we need men, we need people on the pitch who can take it.

We’ll train all week and we’re going to keep trying to make them understand things and try to put it on the pitch on Saturday.

All the best,

Gus Poyet


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19 thoughts on “Pure Poyetry: Spurs dig in as Sunderland fall short”

  1. There are always players to be got. The source may be different this time. Poyet has made it clear that he has the last word on who comes in and the blind faith which was stupidly placed on Di Fanti’s judgement is over it seems.

    Short may have been reluctant to loosen the purse strings over the last 12 months but staring relegation and the hit that the balance sheet that would result from that is likely to change his mind. I’ve never been that convinced he really wanted PDC. PDC seemed to be Di Fanti’s idea rather that the owner’s.

    Once upon a time it was considered a shrewd move to bring in players who had been doing well in the league below. It may seem old fashioned but we may well see a couple of his old players arrive from Brighton, for example.

    It isn’t too late yet, but it will be soon unless there is a real turnaround in the next 3-4 games. We have to get off the bottom by Christmas otherwise the game is more or less up. It’s a pitiful points haul particularly in light of the way we’ve played in recent games.

    If we had 12 or 14 points on the board nobody would be worried by the performances or results against Chelsea and Spurs. That’s where we should look for encouragement and consider that had we played like that against the likes of Swansea, Crystal Palace etc then we would have points on the board. I remain convinced that we will accumulate points when we play some of the lesser teams. That’s about to happen over the next couple of weeks, so we will soon know.

  2. My faith in Poyet is that he has the judgement to bring in players in the window that can and will make a difference. He has said that he needs that new arrivals “have to hit the ground running.” He will turn this around. He has worked miracles with the dross he inherited but needs some help from new blood.

    • Trouble is Jeremy id pre-supposes that the players are there to be got, that they are willing to join a Club in the turmoil that is SAFC and that ES will fund this latest foray into the transfer market.

      Additionally it also pre-supposes that De Fanti gets it right and Poyet get reinforcements that he is happy with.

      Its unlikely that we will be raising much funds by off-loading players, who is really going to want any of our current playing staff so ES will have to bank role the exercise, indications in the press indicate that this is not too popular with him.

      Add to this the old maxim that getting the right players in in January is not possible and all you end up with are journey men, and we currently have way too many of these already. Its not good and GP as accomplished as he currently looks may have taken on a task that just can not be completed in one season.

      There’s an old saying that when one stares into the abyss (the Championship) that the abyss too stares in to you, and our players have relegation stamped all over them, it may all be too late already.

  3. As I and many others have stated previously ,this set of players has done for Bruce,O’Neill and Di Canio.Sadly Poyet is now saddled with their ineptitude. Poyet’s comments this week-end were almost identical to what Paolo was saying about the squad’s deficienies.It’s enough to make you despair.

  4. Can’t disagree with any of the above, Poyet is our only hope but the one thing seriously worrying me, excluding our impending relegation, is that with the current set of players Poyet has already managed wring the best out of them and there is just no more to get, This is quite clearly a worry.

    With Johnston and Fletcher under performing, in Johnston’s case this is the norm, you can’t see where any inspiration is going to come from. Ki epitomises this lack of creativity by being neat and tidy but that’s all you get and increasingly he has been wasteful in possession and anonymous without the ball, yet gets his place in the team regardless.

    With a squad this size it is difficult to understand how there can not be competition for places, it appears to suggest that virtually all the summers acquisitions are simply not good enough (development squad players exempted) so why were they bought in the first place?

    Unless we can find the required players in the January transfer window, and as it will be De Fanti identifying them so don’t get your hopes up, we will almost certainly be down well in advance of the end of the season.

  5. PDC might have fared a bit better if he had been less well understood.The players wouldn’t have rebelled against him.

    We have gone a long way (too far in most people’s view I expect) with this Director of Football nonsense. When others have done it, it has tended to be someone with a vast experience of the English game and not someone from overseas who is completely clueless about what’s needed in context.

    How Di Fanti is still getting wages after all this I have no idea.

    • Jeremy

      The only reason that I used O’Neill as an example is that I could never understand a word PDC said!

  6. William C. That was possibly the worst display from Fletcher in our colours. When he was getting at least some service he was finding the net. His conversion rate was almost flawless and this papered over the plain fact that he’s a very poor footballer. It’s why he has been at Burnley, Wolves and now Sunderland. If he could actually play, then he would be at Man Utd or Chelsea etc.

    Altidore is also very poor. OK he competes and never stops working but you could find blokes playing for the Nag’s Head in a Sunday park game who would run about and close the opposition down. It’s the same with Ki as I have said elsewhere. He’d tidy and can pass the ball but has the pace and acceleration of a worn out Trabant car. He simply can’t get away from his man because as well as being slow he is flat footed.

    The point is that we have a complete set of incomplete players who can do some things but none of whom have an all round set of attributes to cut it at this level. Cattermole is the same. He will lunge into tackles, most of which are only required because he can’t control the ball when it comes to him in the first place.

    We had a squad of no hopers supplemented with a recent influx of nobodies courtesy of the Italian footballing equivalent of Boris Johnson. Hanging is too good for Di Fanti. He should be chained to the railings outside The Wheatsheaf and flogged first.

    Much as I hate to blame Ellis Short he has been guilty of giving too much reign to this buffoon who has landed up with so called starlets such as Moberg-Karlsson who can’t even warrant a starting berth in the stiffs, while Mandron gets a hat trick and still can’t get a game ahead of a bloke like Altidore who now has 2 goals in 50+ Premier League games. When you are a striker in a struggling team and your goals for tally is eclipsed by Phil Bardsley then perhaps you should consider a new sport like Shuffleboard.

    We are now suffering from the chronic mismanagement of the last few years which has been exacerbated by complete stupidity. In Poyet we have the only glimmer of hope, as he may have a chance of putting a lot of the on and off field wrongs right given half a chance, some money and a little bit of time.

    • Jeremy

      Brilliantly put, and I don’t disagree with a word. I did suggest on this forum about a month ago that our Board might well think about bringing in a consultancy management team. One that knew something about football.
      If they were managing an NHS Trust they would have been removed before now.

  7. Poyet’s ” comments ” make about as much sense as O’Neill’s at the latter part of his reign.
    I think Dave earlier makes some very fair points. I groaned when I saw the starting line up, and was not remotely surprised at the outcome. To play two ” strikers ” [ I use that term reservedly ] against a side with the midfield skill and overall pace of Spurs, was IMO, suicidal. What on earth is the point of two up top if there are no crosses or through balls to run on to?
    Fletcher was simply not at the races. Is he fit? He should have been replaced after 20 mins along with Johnson [ who took his goal well, but was otherwise totally ineffective ]
    I didn’t expect us to win this game, but I thought there might be a point in it, which could be vital at the end of the season. However, I feel that poyet’s selections and tactics virtually ensured defeat. In truth, if the score had been 6-1 it would not have flattered Spurs.

  8. Another defeat.

    I think Gus would be wise to impose a media blackout on his players until the 31st. I don’t believe I’m the only one sick to death of the woulda, coulda, shoulda’s that come with every reverse. Talk is cheap, and as they obviously can’t get the job done on the pitch, they should button it.

    The next four games will be crucial and if the lads can’t string together back to back victories (draws just won’t do in these dire circumstances), then it’s all over but the crying.

  9. Ken. You are correct about the easy games under Poyet but as I pointed out in the original post we were undone with the red cars in those games. Other teams at the bottom prove capable of beating the better sides occasionally and pick up unexpected points.

    Everyone has been lauding Ki (including Poyet), but he has absolutely no pace whatsoever from a standing start. None at all so he never ever gets away from an opponent. The fact that he is permanently on his heels when he gets the ball contributes further to this problem. If we are placing all hope on him then we are done for.

    I remain optimistic that we can turn this round simply because (despite results), we have seen a genuine transformation under Poyet and apparently some sense of belief in recent games.

    A few seasons ago WBA achieved the impossible by escaping the drop despite being bottom at Christmas. Strikers (who can score as opposed to garbage like Graham) are not easy to obtain in January), but if he can make bring in a competent centre back and an attacking midfield player that can only help.

    Mandron gets a hat trick midweek but doesn’t get any attention. Can he do worse that Altidore and Fletcher, neither of whom have the first inkling on how to play as a strike pair. If nothing else it would get Mandron ready for the Championship.

  10. There’s always hope, but time and games are passing us by. Other teams in the bottom half are picking up the odd wins here and there , we arn’t. Theres no easy teams for us ,as the league table doesn’t lie.

  11. I’d love to be wrong but I think taht yesterday could prove terminal. Many clubs around us won and in games we couldn’t (Stoke beat Chelsea, Norwich at West Brom) and we were hopeless in the second half. If we don’t win the next 2 games we could be cut adrift particularly if Fulham win (and they are winning 2-0 as I write) and who on earth, with the quality we need, would choose to come to us in January.
    Perhaps more worrying for the future is the DI Canio like tone of the email above. He draws a big distinction between the management (us) and the players (them) with all the blame being apportioned to them. Doesn’t bode well for morale and also suggests a massive lack of self-awareness. The players didn’t choose to surrender midfield. The players didn’t choose to bring Borini in on the left where he offers absolutely nothing. The players didn’t choose a goalkeeper because he is a better passer of the ball. The players didn’t pick Gardner on Wednesday after he had been terrible on Saturday. All these things are down to the manager.
    The next 2 games are basically it. Win them both and hope returns in abundance. Lose (or even draw) them both and we are gone.

  12. It probably turned out to be a mistake to set up the way we did, but an understandable decision by Poyet. My only complaint is how much he likes to play Borini on the left where he’s largely ineffective. Fletcher was lucky to stay on for me.

    Problem is what does he go with at West Ham? do we just say we need to win and go with two up or do we do what we probably should have gone with yesterday which is Altidore with Giaccherini behind?

    We need to seriously find some strength and pace from somewhere in January, though I’m fearing the worst now.

  13. I never thought thought relegation was a serious possibility until now. After watching Spurs take us apart in the second half, I think it is highly likely. We can’t compete consistently and that lack of consistency is our undoing.

    Midfield doesn’t provide balls for the forwards and Ki can’t tackle back.

    I’m keeping the faith because there are some poor sides down there with us and we have a good manager, and we keep the faith anyway, but it’s hard to see any progress at the moment

  14. To be fair Jeremy we’ve had ‘easy’ games under Poyet too, yet for whatever reasons no points were won at Hull or Stoke.Mid-field has,is ,and will continue to be, a major problem unless we get some new personnel.Playing 4-4-2 against a strong Spurs centre of the park was akin to the Larsson/Vaughan combo against Palace.Not lost hope yet but the next six games are absolutely crucial.

  15. You’ve summed this up perfectly for me Malcolm. We are good enough to compete with the poorer sides but it’s surprising in many ways that we have come away with nothing from the last two home games. The problem is that the opportunity for points against the poorer teams came under the PDC regime and when we have played the weaker teams we have been undone by red cards,

    Some people are throwing in the towel and assume we are doomed but I believe that in Poyet we have a good manager who can get the best out of a very limited bunch of players, and in the end we will survive. There is still a long long way to go. Two or three newcomers are essential in the window. Strikers are hard to come by in the window but an attacking midfield player and a commanding centre half are must haves.

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