Gus Poyet has admitted he could have lost his job following the 8-0 mauling of his side at Southampton in the Premier League last week.
Poyet locked himself away in his home in Wearside following the humbling defeat, the biggest suffered by a Sunderland side for 32 years. However, he said the ramifications for himself could have been far worse.
“In another country, maybe an 8-0 defeat means that you lose your job,” said Poyet. “In England, that is not the case – at the moment. I was very disappointed and unpleasantly surprised. Why? Because I swear I didn’t expect that to happen to me.
“The way that we defended, the way the players were on the pitch, the type of group that we want the players to be – everything... If you put it together, you would say you’re not going to lose 8-0, but I was wrong.”
Poyet admitted he could not watch the match highlights on Saturday night, but had to sit through the video nasty the next morning.
He said: “On Sunday I had to watch the game to choose the clips to show the players. There were too many, so I needed to put the most important ones together, the ones that were the basics. Then at least you can start thinking about the next game, but you still need to deal with Monday and Tuesday with the players.”
Poyet held a grisly post-mortem on Tuesday, but resisted the temptation to drag his players in on Sunday.
“People said to me, ‘Are you training on Sunday?’ I said, ‘No, I don’t want to see them’, and that’s the truth, so we didn’t train on Sunday,” he explained. “Now there are probably a few fans who think they [the players] deserved to train on Sunday and not have a day off, but I am sorry, it was my decision and I didn’t want to see them on Sunday.”
In the wake of the defeat, the 46-year-old Uruguayan appeared to question the depth of the squad with which he was left after sporting director Lee Congerton completed the club’s summer recruitment drive.
In the immediate aftermath of the debacle at St Mary’s, a shell-shocked Poyet said: “I’m a head coach. I don’t make the squad, that’s not my job.” However, Poyet was adamant that he is happy to accept responsibility for the things he does control at the club and leave others to deal with their roles.
He said: “I pick the team, I make the decisions, I make the changes and I assume responsibility. The rest is not my department.
“If we make money at the club or we don’t, it’s not my department,” Poyet added. “If we travel by bus or by plane, it’s not my decision, it’s the club which spends the money. I accept mine [responsibilities]; the rest, I am not going to take.”
Poyet’s main concern has been his lack of defenders – he had only four fit last weekend – and the club moved to address that when they handed former Napoli full-back Anthony Réveillère, 34, a contract until the end of the season – although they were still awaiting his international clearance.
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