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Poyet Not Treating City Clash As Wembley Dry Run (But He Is Really)

Poyet is definitely not thinking about the cup final as Sunderland meet Manchester City tonight. (He is)

Michael Regan

Gus Poyet claims (unconvincingly) that Sunderland will have their mind only on the league campaign when they travel to face Manchester City tonight.

The two sides are set to meet again at Wembley in two-and-a-half weeks in the Capital One Cup final to decide who lifts the first major silverware of the season, but Poyet is adamant that the two games ultimately present very different kinds of challenges.

He said:

I'm sure the final will be a totally different game, although we'll learn a lot from it. But will the final be in my mind for this match? No. I'll not be picking a team thinking about the final.

They are one of the best teams in the country and if we are to have any chance of winning points we need to be good, physically and especially mentally. If we go just to defend it is going to be impossible.

It'll be a totally different game. But if something works, it will be in my mind.

Obviously, a game away from home in the league is a completely different proposition to a one-off cup final at a neutral venue, even if the teams are the same.

At Wembley there will be no emphasis on City to set the tempo and make the running. There will be no home crowd to frustrate. There will be less pressure on both sides and the pressure that will be felt will be very different. But come on, it's all just mind-games and subterfuge at the moment.

You almost wonder if this game will be almost treated like the weigh-in before a big Boxing fight with both competitors posturing and talking before the main event to try and identify some kind of weakness.

It's all getting quite exciting. We should definitely do this cup final malarkey more often. It might just catch on, you know.