A look back at Gus Poyet’s time as Sunderland manager
Following his sacking, we look back at the highs and lows that marked Gus Poyet's stint at the Stadium of Light.
Gus Poyet kick started his Sunderland job with a 4-0 away loss to Swansea City and surprisingly ended it with a 4-0 home loss to Aston Villa. Last weekend’s defeat prompted Sunderland’s board to end the 46-year old Uruguayan’s 17-month stint.
His stint as manager of the club saw some good moments, especially the manner in which the team staved off relegation last season. With Dick Advocaat temporarily taking over the reins, here is a look at the crests and troughs of the former Chelsea and Tottenham midfielder’s spell at the Stadium of Light:
Knocking Chelsea out of 2014 Capital One Cup
Chelsea fans would have been forgiven for thinking that that game would be a walk in the park. Frank Lampard’s 46th minute deflected strike gave José Mourinho’s men the lead. The away fans had started celebrating a win, but they were given a rude shock by their former striker Fabio Borini, who equalized in the 88th minute to send the game into extra time.
Just when the managers were contemplating as to which of their players should take penalties, Ki Sung-Yeung delivered the final blow by scoring in the last minute of extra-time to send the Black Cats through to the semi-finals.
Reaching the 2014 Capital One Cup final
The Black Cats were handed a tough semi-final tie against Manchester United. The first leg was played at the Stadium of Light in which Ryan Giggs’ own goal gave the home side the lead in the first half.
Although Nemanja Vidic equalized for the Red Devils early in the second half, Fabio Borini converted a penalty following Tom Cleverley’s mistimed challenge on Adam Johnson in the box to give the Wearsiders a 2-1 lead.
In the second leg, the Red Devils failed to add to Jonny Evans’ goal and the tie was sent into penalties after both teams scored a goal each in extra-time. Vito Mannone saved two penalties to send the Black Cats to Wembley for the first time. Although they lost 3-1 in the finals to Manchester City, it is a run many will surely remember.
Handing Jose Mourinho his first League defeat at Stamford Bridge
The fans in the away end displayed a banner declaring, “Miracles happen, Gus.” There were referring to Sunderland and the fact that it would be a miracle if they could stave off relegation.
The Blues were ready to avenge their League Cup exit and continue their title charge. Samuel Eto’o scored in the 12th minute to give the home side the lead.
However, Connor Wickham struck six minutes later to cancel out Chelsea’s lead. Ten minutes from time, Fabio Borini who was on loan from Liverpool, converted a penalty to inflict Mourinho’s first ever league defeat as Chelsea manager at Stamford Bridge. The win brought an end to his record 77-match unbeaten run since 2004.
Keeping Sunderland in the Premier League
Gus Poyet took over the reins from Paolo Di Canio in October 2013 with Sunderland at the bottom of the table. The former Brighton & Hove Albion manager was given the responsibility to resuscitate the Black Cats and help them stay in the Premier League.
Although he started slowly, a run of four victories and a draw in their final six league matches - including wins against Manchester United and Chelsea, and a draw against Manchester City- helped them stay up. He whisked the club out of the relegation dogfight against all odds.
Disappointing 2014-15 season leading to his sacking
The Uruguayan manager endured a difficult second season at the Stadium of Light, only managing four wins in 29 league games. The run saw his team draw 14 times, seven of which were 0-0.
The lowest point of this season was their 8-0 thumping by Southampton at St. Mary’s in October last year. As if that was not enough, Gus Poyet’s men were knocked out of the FA Cup by League One side Bradford City in a 2-0 defeat in February.
The 2010-11 League One Manager of the Year’s team struggled to score league goals, notching only 23, which is a lowly number with only one club, Aston Villa below them in the scoring charts, with 19.
A run of one win in 12 games was enough to give the board the green light to pull the plug on his time at the club, leaving the club one point off the doldrums of the relegation zone.