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Sunderland boss calls for a change to locations of dug-outs
SEVEN days on from Alan Pardew’s KC Stadium headbutt and Gustavo Poyet insists there is no danger of a repeat when Sunderland arrive there for a FA Cup quarter-final tomorrow.
The spotlight has been on Poyet’s Newcastle counterpart for the last week and he is likely to find out next week the extent of the punishment he will receive for shoving his head in the direction of ex-Black Cats midfielder David Meyler.
But as Pardew awaits the date of the personal hearing he requested following the Football Association’s charge of improper conduct, it will be Sunderland paying a visit to the scene of the incident this weekend.
Poyet will not be carrying out a repeat during tomorrow’s FA Cup tie, but he does think that the FA should explore the possibility of changing the location of dug-outs in the English game.
“I will be there. I hope Meyler doesn’t come close!” joked Poyet. “No, I think that was a one-off, I don’t think it will happen a lot.
“But I talk to the referees and I talk to the Football League in different meetings. I haven’t talked to the FA yet. I have always thought that having the benches too close together is a bad idea. Having the fourth official between the two benches is a terrible idea. They get everything from us and they are responsible for nothing.
“If the fourth official was on the other side, what are you going to do? You are not going to run around the pitch to tell him whatever.
“If the opposite bench was in the corner, you’re not going to shout at each other but somebody decides in England that the benches are together, it looks better and they are still there.
“If you go to other countries sometimes the benches are further apart. I think that helps. We are not going to rebuild the stadiums but I said it to the authorities. I think it would be beneficial to the referees.”
Poyet was once sent off during his days at Leeds United as assistant to Dennis Wise; a period when, he admits, he did get in to trouble more with the officials.
But since stepping in to frontline management with Brighton, the Uruguayan insists that he has warned his backroom staff of poor behaviour in the technical areas.
“With my staff we have a rule: we don’t get involved with the opposition bench,” said Poyet. “We don’t get involved. We ask them to leave us alone. You can do whatever you like.
“It’s our staff rule, we don’t get involved with them. They can do whatever they like - ask for a yellow card, red card, jump and down and talk. I don’t care, it’s their problem but when I do my bit leave me alone because hypocrites, I’m not having them.
“Everyone complains and everyone asks for something.
When somebody makes a bad tackle and the whole bench jumps, why are they jumping? They are asking for a yellow card but when you do it they are not happy. Hypocrites.”
After his antics at the KC Stadium, Pardew apologised and suggested he will be sitting down from now on rather than take the standing approach he more often than not takes.
Poyet said: “I like to watch the games sitting down but lately I haven’t been able to. I would love to sit down because it means my work is done.”
The Sunderland manager is looking to see a knock-on effect from last weekend’s Capital One Cup final outing at Wembley for the remainder of the season.
Despite losing 3-1 to Manchester City, Sunderland impressed and Poyet believes the whole occasion will have left his playing squad hungry for more.
A victory at Hull tomorrow would seal a return to Wembley for a FA Cup semi-final, while they remain in desperate need of results in the Premier League to preserve top-flight status.
Poyet said: “If you ask the players if they want to go to Wembley, I will tell you they will do everything possible to go back there because of the feelings they had at the end of the game. The horrible walk up they had to get the medal that you don’t know what to do with. It’s not nice.
“Everyone wants to get rid of that by having the feeling of going there and winning and to do that they need to win on Sunday. I suppose it has whetted everyone’s appetite.
“I think it’s incredible what people felt. I have been before but for the new boys, the Argentinians, to have that feeling that you lost but people are so proud I think it’s a new feeling for them.
“It doesn’t happen in other parts of the world - it’s unique. It shows you how important it is to give something to the fans, the opportunity to go to Wembley again.”
Poyet, who enjoyed success with Real Zaragoza, Chelsea and Tottenham, shared similar feelings too in his first cup final as a manager and with Sunderland.
He said: “I tell you what, Sunday was incredible. I hate losing but it was incredible. Sometimes I need to step back from myself, disappear and think of what the fans did on Sunday.
“How they handled themselves, what they did in Covent Garden and when we got to the stadium. It was incredible and spectacular.
“The problem is you’re there and it’s so close. We were half an hour away. Even at 2-1 we’re so close. I lost count of how many people called me and asked why Steven Fletcher didn’t hit out. I don’t know, who knows - even Fletcher doesn’t why. We move on though.”