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Monday 11 December 2017

Defoe's arrival a wake-up call for Cats says Poyet

Jermain Defoe's arrival at Sunderland has been a "wake-up call" for the strikers head coach Gus Poyet already had at his disposal.

The Uruguayan is delighted with the way his January signing has slotted straight into the team, scoring his first goal for the club in last Saturday's 2-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Burnley.

However, Poyet has also been delighted with the response the 32-year-old's presence has prompted from fellow frontmen Connor Wickham, Steven Fletcher and Danny Graham as they vie for the right to play alongside the England international.

The 47-year-old said: "He's a wake-up call, we can call it.

"He has come in, a player like him, and you see you are going to have less chance of playing and you need to do something different to be in the team, so we have good competition and it's making us better. It's no coincidence that we are winning with him in the side.

"I know strikers are always about goals, but the way he moves, the options he gives us when he makes runs, how good he is on the ball - he gives the opportunity to others to take advantage of that as well."

The victory over Burnley was followed on Tuesday evening by a second, the Black Cats' 3-1 FA Cup fourth-round replay win at Fulham, to cap a morale-boosting four days on Wearside.

Poyet had admitted last week that he is not a happy man when his side is losing, and his demeanour is decidedly more upbeat as he prepares for Saturday's league trip to Swansea.

Asked if he is happier this week, he said: "Yes, especially Tuesday. Burnley was very, very important - three points in the Premier League is massive. But Tuesday was a good game to watch.

"As a coach, as a manager, when you are sitting there even when you are losing and your team is playing, there is nothing you can say. It's football.

"Sometimes you can be the better team by far, something happens and you lose the game, but you are still doing what you need to do, and that was the feeling at the end."

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