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Poyet: Pressure Firmly On Manchester United

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Sunderland can turn up the heat on the Champions when they meet in the League Cup semi final, hopes the gaffer.

Michael Regan

Gus Poyet is looking forward to a 'strange' game at Old Trafford, but is adamant that all the pressure is on Manchester United.

The defending Premier League Champions are enduring a tough time since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement, and find themselves struggling to keep pace with those competing for Champions League qualification.

David Moyes, meanwhile, has struggled to convince fans that he has what it takes to continue the Red Devils' winning mentality. That's something that heaps the pressure on the home side to deliver a Wembley final, says the Sunderland manager.

He told the Guardian:

In normal conditions, if Manchester United were in the top four and we were mid-table it would probably be a bigger game for us. It would be massive and a unique opportunity. Now because of where we are in the League, it makes it quite strange. But both teams have a chance to change the course of their season.

Even a goal down everybody in the world will be expecting them to win at home. There's more pressure on them.

David took the most difficult job in the world. After Sir Alex Ferguson left it was always going to be the most difficult job. It's a big change. It's not like changing managers at any other club. I hope David's given time to turn things round; he deserves that for what he did at Everton.

If somebody needs to win this game it's Manchester United but for us it's a great opportunity and I wouldn't like to give it away cheaply. If we don't make it I want it to be because Manchester United were very good not because we gave them it. We can't aim for 0-0; we need to try to score a goal.

Positive talk from Poyet, and he is right. I'd love a final, obviously, but for United it looks like their whole season. They are well off the pace in the League, not going to win the Champions League, and have already been knocked out of the FA Cup on home soil. They need this, badly, almost just to remind themselves who they actually are.

With a bit of luck, that's something that Poyet and co. can take advantage of. There is plenty to respect about Manchester United, but right now not a great deal to fear.