Poyet leaves De Fanti replacement in Sunderland's hands as crunch month approaches (From The Advertiser Series)
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Poyet leaves De Fanti replacement in Sunderland's hands as crunch month approaches
GUS POYET will leave the search for a new director of football to Sunderland’s board while he focuses on the quest to save the Black Cats from relegation.
Sunderland travel to Arsenal today, with the Capital One Cup final a week away and an FA Cup quarter-final against Brighton or Hull City seven days after that - before a string of crunch Premier League encounters follows.
And while replacing Roberto De Fanti, who was deposed during last month’s transfer window, is high on the Black Cats’ agenda, Poyet would rather the discussions took place elsewhere while he concentrates on keeping his side in the Premier League.
“We kind of started because we want to leave all this craziness behind,” said Poyet, who played a pivotal role in the signings of Oscar Ustari, Santiago Vergini and Liam Bridcutt last month as opposed to De Fanti, who found himself marginalised in the Sunderland boardroom.
“Now I leave it a little bit with the club because of all the games that are coming. I think that probably next month will be very important for that. It’s not decided what it’s going to be or how it’s going to be.
“You can do it different ways. You can call it different ways but the situation is how you’re going to set up the whole system.
“We have been interchanging opinions and I think it’s something the club needs to define more than me. I would like one way but I would like to leave something behind the day I leave, whenever that is - whether it’s three months, a year or four years or ten. That is for the club, it’s not just for me.
“Nowadays when you move apparently you need to take the whole system with you. I don’t agree. It’s important the club has its instructions already.”
Sunderland’s success in the cups this season has been a happy - if unexpected - distraction from their league exploits under Poyet. The Uruguayan is planning for next season, but admits that the dream situation of beating Manchester City next weekend would cloud his plans somewhat.
“Playing in Europe would make it more complicated,” admitted Poyet. “It’s incredible. It’s the perfect question - it would make it impossible. We need to plan in the next three months, we need to start looking for next year but it depends where we are and before it looked like there were two situations: whether we’re in the Premier League or the Championship. Now if we qualify for Europe there is one in the middle, a third way.
“And you can be in the Championship playing in Europe or the Premier League playing in Europe and it’s totally different because you’ve got the quantity of games and you’ve got the Cups and you’ve got the responsibilities. The standards (in Europe) are incredible.
“So we are waiting - I don’t know what will happen.”
The planning process for 2014-15 is under way for many clubs - Manchester United have already organised their pre-season tour - and Poyet would like to have a plan in place in the next 30 days - and uncertainty over the club’s league status does not help that.
“I wouldn’t say we are in limbo but it’s very difficult,” Poyet said. “Me, I would like to have everything decided by the end of March - pre-season dates, when we start, where we’re going and the first few friendlies.
“I may have a plan for each of the two scenarios - I don’t want to have to think about a third, which would be more complicated but it would be great in another way because it would mean we’ve won the cup.”
Poyet admitted that he does not know if he will still be in the job if Sunderland were to be relegated at the end of the season.
“I’ve got a contract. I’ve got an idea,” said Poyet.
“I’ve not had any assurances because we haven’t even talked about it, I promise you that. We didn’t even talk about it. I walked in in October and all I was thinking about was staying in the Premier League.
“Now we’re talking about the final and getting through the next round of the FA Cup and being at Wembley again.
“I’m trying to deal with all of that and it’s new, remember. It’s not like I’ve been four years in football management fighting relegation from the Premier League and playing in finals and the cups.
“You don’t know what is going to happen. In three months, if I’ve lost every game I might not be here. That’s football.”