Sport Soccer

Sunday 22 April 2018

Poyet hails O'Shea role in Sunderland's revival

Fulham 1 Sunderland 4

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has praised John O'Shea
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has praised John O'Shea

Glenn Moore

The spotlight, understandably, was on Adam Johnson, but the quiet influence Ki Sung-Yueng had on Sunderland's biggest win of the season should not be underestimated. The South Korean, on loan from Swansea, scored one and made one as Sunderland lifted themselves off the bottom with a 4-1 win at Fulham.

The 24-year-old could have been recalled this week but, to Gus Poyet's relief, Michael Laudrup decided against it. "It was a difficult day for me, waiting for the phone to ring," said Poyet, who is looking into making the move permanent. "I can see he is enjoying his football, and making a difference, so it is possible. He's been excellent, our most consistent player."

Sunderland have not put four goals past Premier League opposition since the heady days of Martin O'Neill's first few weeks in charge on Wearside. That was two years ago and owner Ellis Short has fired O'Neill and Paolo Di Canio since. In Poyet he may finally have made the right choice.

The Uruguayan inherited a Sunderland team that had one point from seven matches and were thrashed at Swansea in the first game under his command. "We were 1-0 down, then 'boom', we collapse completely," he recalled, "but then we get better, slowly you could see we were better. We needed a full 90 minutes, that happened today."

Since that drubbing in south Wales, Sunderland have taken 16 points from 13 games -- if that ratio is maintained to the end of the season, they will get 38 points, which might just be enough.

"With John O'Shea and Wes Brown at the back, we look more solid, and with Jonno (Adam Johnson) as he was today, and Ki, if we can keep them all fit, we have the basis for a good end to the season," Poyet said.

Fulham have now conceded 39 goals in 14 games, including the infamous six at Hull and a quintet of fours. Rene Meulensteen talks a good game but Fulham have taken nine points from eight games under their new manager and have a tough run ahead. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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