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Poyet Takes Positives From Tactical Reform

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How much food for thought did Sunderland's new system present?

Alex Livesey

Gus Poyet believes his side deserves credit for their fighting display at Liverpool despite coming away from Anfield empty-handed.

The Uruguayan made the decision to switch to using three centre backs for the trip to the free-scoring title title-challengers, first in a 5-3-2 and later, when chasing the game, a 3-4-2-1. Despite the 2-1 defeat, it has given Poyet food for thought for the remainder of the season. He told Sky Sports:

I think we can take a lot from that.

In the press everything was set here for a four, five, six, seven nil, a party, they would run all over Sunderland, which we didn't like.

For the first time we played a different system and I think for a long, long period we really frustrated Liverpool.

The feeling of seeing this crowd quiet at the end and then really excited when they celebrate at the end shows it was not an easy day for Liverpool.

It was certainly one of the most interesting tactical experiments that I can remember from Sunderland in, well, just about ever. In my lifetime Sunderland haven't really tried anything out of the ordinary without total disaster following.

Poyet said that it was a system they had been training with since the Capital One Cup final so with a few top teams to play away from home to come, it wouldn't surprise me if we see this system a lot before the end of the season.

The shape of the side in the last twenty minutes after the introductions of Adam Johnson and Ki Sung-Yueng was actually quite reminiscent of the system Wigan used under Roberto Martinez, so there is some track record of it being used in this country.

Wigan went down last season, of course, but they still arguably survived a couple of seasons longer than they should have given their resources and lifted a major trophy.

A genuine tactical quandary to consider then. We love those.