Poyet Would Rather Lose Than Replay

Alex Livesey

Gus has no doubt prompted a wave of 'magic of the cup!' sarcasm with these thoughts...

Gus Poyet would prefer to see Sunderland lose in the FA Cup than draw and get a replay.

The postponement of the games against Manchester City and West Brom already have Sunderland facing a fixture pile-up, and UEFA rules that stipulate that top-level domestic fixtures can be played on the same nights as their flagship competitions mean any replay with the Saints would likely have to be played a few days before the League Cup final.

Poyet told reporters:

What is the worst result? A replay. Is it worse than losing? Yes.

Is it normal that we should play in the week before the final? I almost hope we have a replay so we can laugh about the date.

There are some newspapers who are insisting that Poyet's comments will 'anger' Sunderland fans. That may be a little strong, but it will certainly prompt debate.

From a personal point of view, I can fully understand where Poyet is coming from, but it's a tough sell. Get through the tie with Southampton - whether that is at the Stadium of Light of in a replay - and we are once again on the verge of Wembley with a lot of top sides knocked out of the competition.

So I suppose it boils down to the same old debate in football about whether you'd rather chase glory at the risk of your Premier League status, or sacrifice your chances at fleeting success in the interests of safety?

It's worth noting that this weekend sees the 25th game since Poyet's Sunderland career began 130 days ago - an average of a game every 5.2 days. It has already been a frantic schedule and it includes a match postponement. At some point or another, it will surely take its toll and there appears to be zero margin for error in the league.

So, whilst I would usually advocate the pursuit of glory over the grind of league safety, on this occasion I find it tough to disagree with Poyet's sentiments. A replay would be a right pain in the backside.

Granted, a reserve team could just be fielded should one be required, keeping the first-teamers fit for the important challenges. However, you'd still lose a week of uninterrupted training and preparation.

It's an interesting debate to have, and I'm sure it will provoke a varied range of opinions. Feel free to let us know where you stand on it in the comments section.

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