Gus Poyet says keeping Sunderland in the Premier League is a 'great and difficult challenge' after succeeding Paolo Di Canio

The Uruguyan has signed a two-year contract

Gustavo Poyet is relishing the “great and difficult challenge” of keeping Sunderland in the Barclays Premier League after being unveiled as the club's sixth manager in less than five years.

The 45-year-old Uruguayan is adamant he will not need compromise the brand of fluent, attacking football for which he made his name in his previous managerial role at Brighton but accepted he will be judged by his ability to secure the Black Cats' top-flight future.

Poyet brushed aside comparisons with his predecessor Paolo Di Canio, whose tumultuous 13-match reign came to an end last month amid mounting criticism of the club's summer transfer policy under director of football Roberto Di Fanti, with whom Poyet must work.

And he stressed his desire to ensure a greater role for popular former player Kevin Ball, who inspired improved performances against Liverpool and Manchester United in his interim role and had made no secret of his desire to be given the job on a permanent basis.

Poyet said: "When I started my managerial career just like when I started my playing career, I tried to aim for the best and my aim was to prove I am good enough for the Premier League. Now I have got my chance. It is a great and difficult challenge but I am ready for it.

"When you are in the situation we are in everybody will say it is going to be very difficult. But the big thing is to believe and be convinced, and from what I have already seen I do believe that we can be saved now.

"I need to convince the players, the staff, the fans and the directors that we need to really believe in this opportunity that we start today. It is my job to convince everybody and make sure everybody commits to the cause.

"I have a reputation for playing a particular style of football and we will care about the ball. We need to adapt it slowly because the aim will be to get three points. But if we are all involved and convinced, I think the fans will be very proud of our new way of playing football."

Despite his own reputation for volatility, culminating in his contested dismissal on an unspecified charge of gross misconduct after guiding Brighton to the Championship play-offs last season, Poyet cast an aura of calm and focus in sharp comparison to his predecessor.

He accepted he will need to work closely with long-term club men like Ball if he is to prove wrong those critics who view his appointment as a gamble, and rescue a season which sees the Black Cats stranded at the foot of the table with just one point from their first seven games.

"I have had one job as a manager so far and every time a new manager arrives he wants to stay as long as possible and prove he was the right choice," he said.

"I'm a positive person and I want to prove myself and I hope at the end of the season I will be sitting here smiling.

"I have already spoken to Kevin and he doesn't know yet how important he is going to be for me. It is clear you need someone with the qualities Kevin has so I am going to count on him a lot."

Key to Sunderland's survival prospects will be Poyet's relationship with Di Fanti, who presided over the summer transfer policy but also championed Poyet's cause as Di Canio's successor and won over owner Ellis Short.

Poyet added: "I am very straightforward and I am expecting the same from Roberto. At the end of the day we are both working for the club. The closer we get and the more understanding we have, the better for the club, so we are starting today."

With 11 Sunderland players on international duty, Poyet has met only a handful of first-team personnel but will have time to convince the remaining squad members of his philosophy prior to his first match in charge at Swansea a week on Saturday.


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