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Monday 18 December 2017

Poyet: I'd love to pull on boots against Arsenal

Gus Poyet admits he would love to be pulling on his boots against Arsenal today as Sunderland attempt to exorcise the ghost of their Southampton nightmare.

Seven days after succumbing to a humiliating 8-0 defeat at the St Mary's Stadium - a reverse which the English Premier League's dubious goals panel has now ruled included three own goals - the Black Cats will line up against Arsenal at the Stadium of Light needing to make a statement.

Poyet's men had lost only one of their previous seven league games, a run which constituted a positive start to the season in the Uruguayan's eyes, but much of the good work will be undone if they fail to find an antidote to the shock which has engulfed Wearside ever since.

It is a challenge the head coach insists his players, far from fearing, should relish. Poyet said: "It's going to be great on Saturday. I would love to be playing on Saturday.

"It's the perfect game to go in there and put in the biggest effort you can put in on a football pitch and show that whatever happened happened and that's it, and now we are moving on."

However, Poyet is refusing to view the debacle on the south coast as a reality check to focus minds on the task ahead.

He said: "I don't want reactions because that means you have done something bad. I prefer not to react.

"But I do really trust the players, so I am really looking forward to the game. That's the main thing for me."

In the circumstances, Poyet could be forgiven for wishing for less accomplished opponents than the Gunners, who although far from at their best, emerged from their midweek Champions League trip to Anderlecht with a dramatic late victory.

He said: "The improvement needs to be dramatic. "I am calm now. It was a difficult weekend, like everybody knows, and Monday and Tuesday, we were still talking about the (Southampton) game. Then from Wednesday on, I tried to concentrate on Arsenal. There is no place to hide.

Poyet's options to change his side are limited, particularly at the back, where the addition of former Napoli full-back Anthony Reveillere has at least given him another body with Sebastian Coates and Billy Jones both on the casualty list.

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