West Ham v Sunderland: Gus Poyet admits life in charge of the Black Cats is not enjoyable in attempt to avoid relegation
Sunderland sit five points adrift of the rest of the Premier League and Poyet cast a forlorn figure on the sidelines in their recent defeat to Tottenham
Friday 13 December 2013
Gus Poyet has admitted he is not enjoying life as he attempts to drag Sunderland out of danger.
The 46-year-old Uruguayan cast a forlorn figure last Saturday night after seeing the Black Cats slip to a second Barclays Premier League defeat in four days at the Stadium of Light which left them five points adrift at the foot of the table.
Poyet and his players will resume their survival battle at West Ham on Saturday with some of their own supporters believing their fate is already sealed.
The manager does not subscribe to that theory and although he admits the club's season is fast approaching the point of no return, he is not about to give up.
Asked if he had ever experienced anything like the Black Cats' current plight, Poyet said: "No. But I accepted the challenge and now I am not going to hide. I have got no problems.
"Is it enjoyable? No, I can tell you it's not, but I don't think everybody gets a job and tries to enjoy the job.
"That's a dream job. That's what I have said to the players: You want to play football? Yes. You want to earn money? Yes. Have you got a lovely place to train? Yes. Then you are lucky because you are enjoying your life.
"But at the moment, no, I am not really enjoying my life. But it's the way it is. I am trying to make sure I can enjoy it in a few weeks' time, that would be nice."
If Poyet is to enjoy a little respite, his team's fortunes will have to improve markedly after a run of four games which has yielded just a single point in the wake of an impressive victory over Manchester City.
Chelsea and Tottenham both left Wearside with the points safely banked last week, although Jose Mourinho's men had to work extremely hard to come out on the right end of a seven-goal thriller.
However, the fact remains that Sunderland are in severe danger of being left marooned at the bottom unless they can make a dramatic improvement, with Norwich due in the north-east after Saturday's visit to Upton Park before testing trips to Everton and Cardiff during the final few days of 2013.
The fixture list is a little kinder at the start of the new year than it has been in recent weeks with Stoke, Hull, West Brom, Crystal Palace and the Hammers among the visitors.
But the pressure is mounting with each passing week, and Poyet admits that is something he has to manage as best he can.
He said: "To be honest, the game where I thought there was pressure was Newcastle at home. Eight games in the table, no wins and you play your biggest rival - that's pressure.
"This is football. Sometimes we - me in particular - take it to a level of craziness where it shouldn't be like that because it's a game.
"We can win 20 games now and somebody will go down, but I suppose from that team, nobody will die. Sometimes we think if it's us, we are going to die, but that's the way we are.
"We need to control the emotions, be realistic and accept the challenge, but at the same time not go over the line because if not, somebody will die, will have a heart attack and it will be a shame."
Opposite number Sam Allardyce, of course, has had heart problems in the past, and Poyet admits that level of tension is the lot of the modern football manager.
He said: "It's how we are, how we live football and how much we like to win football games and how much we care.
"We are different characters. That's the way we are, we cannot change."
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