Sunderland’s Poyet: Get the message!

Sunderland manager Gustavo Poyet.
Sunderland manager Gustavo Poyet.

GUS POYET insists his starting XI for the Wear-Tyne derby will be determined by who grasps his philosophy on the training ground this week.

The new Sunderland head coach saw his first team selection backfire spectacularly at Swansea on Saturday after the Black Cats crashed to their heaviest defeat of the campaign.

Poyet had been hoping to keep a settled side during his opening weeks in the job, particularly at the back, after Sunderland named their fifth defensive combination in eight Premier League games in south Wales.

But the manner of the second half collapse has caused Poyet to think again and the likes of Ki Sung-Yeung – ineligible to face parent club Swansea – and Wes Brown, who completed 90 minutes for the Under-21s against Chelsea on Saturday, could come into contention to face Newcastle on Sunday.

Poyet said: “I need to pick the team that is good enough to do it with my ideas. I’m responsible, I’m picking the team.

“There’ve been plenty of changes and unfortunately something happened in the second half at Swansea which affected the team.

“We need strong characters to go in there and react to adversity.”

Poyet is keen to put round pegs in round holes though by putting players in comfortable surroundings, and that was evidenced by his side at the Liberty Stadium.

Seb Larsson was restored to the right-hand side of midfield, Adam Johnson to the left and most controversially among supporters, Phil Bardsley to left-back - albeit the in-from-the-cold defender is more at home on the opposite side of the back-line.

“At this moment in time, when we’re going back to basics, it’s important to have players in their natural positions,” added Poyet.

“Last week, I was asking a few players who’ve been in different positions about where they feel comfortable, where is natural for them.

“They were giving us the information that we need. There are so many things that you can do in training that you get a chance to see things.

“You see if they are paying attention or how they run, whether they can read the game. Whatever they do, there is always something to see.

“We see the things that are important to us and then make a decision about players.”