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Poyet Challenges Frustrated Striker To Show Consistency

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After Jozy Altidore said that Sunderland were a difficult team to play for, Gus Poyet has challenged the out-of-form striker to respond to being dropped in the correct manner.

Chris Brunskill

Jozy Altidore has struggled to find the back of the net throughout his spell with Sunderland, despite the occasional performance giving hope that he may find his best form, the goals have just failed to flow for the American striker.

Speaking whilst on international duty, Altidore said the way Sunderland play are making it difficult for him;

I feel like the (USA) players know my strengths more and it's where I'm most comfortable, sure.

I've been faring better with the national team over the past year, and I want to keep that going because it means a lot to me to play well for my country.

At Sunderland right now it's difficult. It's a difficult team to play for, and we're not playing as well as anybody at the club would like.

We need to put our heads down and keep fighting so I can get back in the team and hopefully get my place on the plane to Brazil.

Gus Poyet, however, feels that the striker has struggled to adapt to the Premier League after scoring regularly in the Netherlands, with the change of manager and systems also not helping the 24-year-old;

To survive in the league you need a striker who will score double figures, if you don't you will struggle badly. It's different football to Holland.

He's had too much pressure, he's come in with an idea he'll play for a manager and the manager changed. We changed the system. He's been in and out; he was maybe not so good and then he scored against Chelsea [in December], then he went on a run without scoring.

We can talk about too many things, how we play, the system we play, who is playing or not playing - at the end of the day we put plenty of effort in to get to him the club and we try to use him the best we can. We need him. It doesn't matter what he said.

I went to see him with the national team. He's playing in a slightly different system, but in the game against Scotland he didn't score and this week he didn't score. It's up to him, not me.

Poyet did admit that it was still a difficult decision to leave Altidore out of the Capital One Cup final squad but has challenged the American striker to respond in a similar manner to Lee Cattermole;

It was hard to leave him out but I needed to make the bench something I was comfortable with. I have a responsibility for the team. It's not nice, I don't like doing it but he has to cope with it.

Let's see how he reacts. I look forward to seeing what type of character he is. I'd like him to prove me wrong. He should take his frustration out on the pitch.

It's up to him. We saw it with Lee Cattermole. He is playing on Sunday but is that because of me? No, it is because of him. It's that simple. I would like Jozy to do the same - to show he deserves to play on Sunday and he will do well enough to play against Palace and Norwich. But because of him, not me. I'm not a charity.

His reaction on Sunday was quiet. He was professional but it was probably a shock for him because he didn't know. Only he knows how he felt inside.

When these situations happen, you learn a lot from the players - how they take it. It's not a nice thing to tell someone who is not on the bench for a final but it's part of my job. You can't pick and choose which bits of the job you do but you hope they understand.

Although Altidore did admit that he needed to get his head down and prove to the Uruguayan that he is worth a place in the starting XI;

To not be able to play in a final was a big disappointment for me, but the gaffer felt there were people who deserved to be there more than I did.

Hey, this is life and I have to move on and get better. It's nothing personal. You can't look at it that way. I need to get my head down and work hard.

The American should get another chance to stake a claim for a place in the side tomorrow, as he is expected to start with Nacho Scocco in the FA Cup quarter final tie with Hull City.