Poyet eyes home advantage

by Kate Smith

Home sweet home for Gus.

Gus Poyet has been at the Stadium of Light many times throughout his career, and now the new Sunderland head coach is looking forward to being on the home side.

The Uruguayan has visited the home of the Black Cats with former clubs Chelsea and Tottenham on a number of occasions but cites his trip to Wearside with the Blues back in 1999 as one of the worst moments of his career.

Gianluca Vialli’s Chelsea side were victims of a 4-1 reverse, after a stunning first half performance from Peter Reid’s men, including two goals apiece for Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn sending the red and white army into raptures.

“It goes down as one of my worst experiences as a player,” Poyet told safc.com.

“Chelsea were 4-0 down at half time. It was one of the worst half times of my career. The Stadium of Light is not the nicest place to be when you’re losing.

“I did manage to score in the last few minutes, but it made no difference at that stage.  I’m looking forward to being on the home side this time around.”

During his four seasons managing at Brighton, Poyet turned the AMEX Stadium into somewhat of a fortress. In the club’s first season in the Championship they lost just seven home league games.

It’s a record the new head coach is pleased with and something he would like to see happen at the Stadium of Light.

“The key to a strong home record is the connection between the players and the fans,” he continued.

Poyet was a keen spectator during Sunderland’s last two fixtures at the SoL and believes the crowd is still just as loud as they were on his first visit.

“From what I’ve seen there is a great connection and great atmosphere at the Stadium of Light.

“The idea is to get stronger and give the fans something to enjoy. We need to get to win points and give them some good football to watch.

“I want them to feel proud of being a Sunderland fan.”