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Poyet: "Next Year Will Be Beautiful"

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Sunderland fans will be forgiven for feeling a little sense of deja vu here...

Laurence Griffiths

Gus Poyet has promised Sunderland fans a 'beautiful' season next year - if Premier League status can be preserved first.

A thoroughly depressing start to the season under Paolo Di Canio left survival looking like a mere pipe dream back when Poyet arrived in October.

However, a good run of form of late has seen the formerly beleaguered Black Cats claw back the deficit and move to within touching distance of escaping the relegation zone for the first time this season. Whilst accepting that nothing has been achieved yet and there is still a mammoth job to be done, Poyet believes he can see a much brighter future now. He told The Sunderland Echo:

It's so important to stay in the Premier League. It's difficult to explain how much of a difference that would make for everybody.

If we stay in the Premier League, then next year will be beautiful.

Everything will be different - the set-up, the players, the pre-season, the way we play and the understanding. It has to be better for sure.

Now we need to make sure that we do it.

It all echoes Di Canio's now infamous 'we change everything' rant at White Hart Lane at the end of last season. To give the Italian his due, he did effect sweeping changes at Sunderland. They were bad changes, but why get bogged down in the detail?

We were as guilty as anyone of getting carried away with Di Canio's talk, but the big difference here is that Poyet has actually delivered the early tell-tales of transformation before shooting his mouth off.

Tactically, mentally and philosophically the squad looks almost unrecognisable from the one the Uruguayan inherited. Crucially, though, he has also effected a huge change in the only thing that actually matters - results.

It's a whole package. It's the way we believe we need to do things, how we treat people, how we make the players feel, how we train and how we connect with the fans.

I'm convinced it works. It's our style. It worked massively at Brighton because we went from 20th in League One to fourth in the Championship in three-and-a-half years.

I'm pleased because even if you are convinced [with your methods] you don't know how long it will take.

But I'm pleased we're in a situation now where there are plenty of people who think we can be safe, whereas two months ago, people were saying we had no chance. That's a great feeling.

It'll be an even better feeling if safety can be achieved come May.