herald

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Mannone pays tribute to toil of boss Poyet

Sunderland'keeper Vito Mannone has praised head coach Gus Poyet for bringing organisation to the chaos he inherited from Paolo di Canio.

The Uruguayan head coach will celebrate a year in his job at the Stadium of Light this week with the club sitting comfortably in mid-table in the Premier League as a result of Saturday's 3-1 home victory over Stoke.

That win was the Black Cats' first in the league this season, but a return of five draws and a single defeat from the previous six is a measure of the organisation instilled under Poyet, who arrived on Wearside to take charge of a team which had collected one solitary point from the 21 it had contested under Di Canio and caretaker Kevin Ball.

Mannone, who watched all those games from the substitutes' bench as Keiren Westwood's deputy, said: "You see the difference from last year to this one. I think we are very solid. We have a base and we know where we are going.

"Each game, we have been in the game at least and trying to get as much as possible from the game, even if we didn't play well sometimes. That's the big difference - last year, we weren't at the start. We gave it up a little bit and even if we were fighting, we were fighting in the wrong manner. This season the big one, I will say, is organisation."

If Sunderland have been more difficult to beat under Poyet their failing has been largely at the other end, where they had managed only five goals in their first six outings, none of them scored by a striker.

Poyet has remained convinced that his frontmen would eventually find the net and gave two of them another chance to prove him right against the Potters when he restored Steven Fletcher to the starting line-up and asked Connor Wickham to resume the wide lift-sided role.

Mannone was delighted to see the pair reap the rewards.

"You finally saw today our strikers, they really wanted to put that ball in the net, especially because it's not nice for anybody to get judged every time because we are not scoring."

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