THE BLOG

Why Gus Poyet Deserves His Fine Reputation After Brilliant Work at Sunderland

09/10/2014 16:48 BST | Updated 09/12/2014 10:59 GMT

When Sunderland owner Ellis Short swapped one flamboyant, divisive and very tanned manager for another almost exactly this time one year ago, it is fair to say that more than a few eyebrows were raised.

After all, what Sunderland were perceived to need was stability and a chance to rebuild a solid side rather than another boss who could potentially clash with club chiefs and players.

Nevertheless, Gus Poyet managed to guide Sunderland to safety with relative ease last term, playing a pretty brand of football along the way. As a result, the Uruguayan has earned himself a special place in many Wearsider's hearts.

As pointed out by Roker Report, the gaffer has now completed 38 games (or a full season) in charge of the North East club, so now would be a good time to assess whether the adoration he receives from Black Cats' fans is truly deserved.

It is hard to discern whether Poyet's greatest achievement was helping the club to Premier League safety or reaching the League Cup final, though the fantasy of a trip to Wembley means that most fans would probably argue the latter.

Beating Chelsea and Manchester United on the way to the final was a fantastic achievement indeed, especially whilst trying to focus on league safety as well as the cup run.

Despite their 3-1 loss to Manchester City in the cup final, the Black Cats held their own, and looked like they could snatch a surprising victory at times. In the end it was tens of millions of pounds worth of Yaya Toure genius that undid them.

Nevertheless, last campaign was one in which Poyet helped shape a team that could very much mix it with the best teams that England has to offer.

In terms of league form, in the 38 games since the 46-year-old took over the team has accrued 45 points. Not outstanding - but when you consider the team of Di Canio players was stuck to the bottom of the table with a very bleak outlook when Poyet was appointed, it isn't so hard to understand why most fans are happy with the Uruguayan manager's contribution so far.

He managed to transform a squad that he inherited, into his own, playing his brand and footballing philosophy. He also decided to bring back Lee Cattermole from the graveyard. The 26-year-old skipper is now undoubtedly one of the side's pivotal players.

Now last years achievements have to be built on this season.

The fact that Poyet had to play much of last season with a squad of players that he inherited, rather than players that were bought or trained to fit his own mould, means that he had an excuse of sorts (though he rarely needed one) if things were not going Sunderland's way.

One year and two transfer windows later however and supporters of the club expect last season's achievements to be built upon and ultimately bettered.

It is an incredibly critical time for Sunderland after an indifferent start to the 2014/15 season. Five draws and a win is not exactly scintillating form, but if the Black Cats can go on to win a few of their next games then they will have built themselves a solid platform to try and push into the upper half of the table - a destination that has eluded the club more often than not in recent years.

Although opinions can change very quickly in football after a few good or bad results, it seems that the praise that Poyet has received for his work with Sunderland so far is very much deserved.

Since joining the club, he has escaped inevitable relegation, taken the side to a Wembley cup final and instilled an attractive and effective style of play.

Sunderland supporters will be hoping that Poyet will keep up his motivation, remain with the club and refine the work he has already started. With any luck, they will get their wish and the Uruguayan won't sink without a trace like Martin O'Neill before him.

For more fan views and opinion visit www.ftbpro.com