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REACTION: Time Running Out On Poyet To Salvage Early Popularity

Gus Poyet's early achievements can buy him more time than most on Wearside, but it's becoming increasingly tough to be patient with him, writes James Holmes.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

After Sunderland crashed out of the FA Cup at Bradford in an utterly shambolic display, the manager and players left the field with chants of "It's always our fault, It's always our fault, Gustavo Poyet, It's always our fault" ringing in their ears. What a difference a year makes.

12 months ago we were daring to dream at a prospect of a piece of silverware. Spirits were high and we thought we'd finally cracked it - we believed we had a manager who could take us forward. As it often does for us Sunderland fans, it has now turned sour and you wonder if Gus will be able to turn this around.

Sunderland were dire, make no doubt about it, and at the heart of this Gus has to take the blame. The stubborn Uruguayan blamed the conditions and the referee Kevin Friend, but surely he must see that we were outplayed and outfought by a team in the third tier of English football and one that's spearheaded by John Stead.

It could have been altogether different if Fletcher hadn't taken what seemed like an hour to bring the ball under control, we could have been level at the break with a real foothold in the game. But this would have been undeserved. Much like the QPR game earlier in the week, Bradford wanted it more.

As an exhausted John Stead left the pitch late in the game to a thunderous home reception I wondered if any of our players were even a tenth as tired as that man. The lack of desire shown by the lads on the pitch was wholly embarrassing. The bare minimum expected by not just Sunderland fans, but football fans on the whole, is to give 100%. It's something we haven't seen in what seems like months.

The recent unnecessary and somewhat, patronising comments by Poyet regarding our fans have come back to haunt him.

While i do agree with him to a certain extend, and the press will at times twist words, he should not be putting himself in that position. It's arrogant and naive. Looking at Gus's record, and comparing it to Paolo Di Canio's, Martin O'Neil's, Steve Bruce's and Roy Keane's it's clear why everyone around the club is increasingly frustrated. Poyet's record is very similar to that of Martin O'Neil and Steve Bruce who both saw Ellis Short wield the axe:

(In all competitions)

Gus Poyet:

Games - 71
Won - 23
Drawn - 20
Lost - 28
Win Percentage - 32%

Paolo Di Canio:

Games - 12
Won - 2
Drawn - 3
Lost - 7
Win Percentage - 17%

Martin O'Neil:

Games - 66
Won - 21
Drawn - 20
Lost - 25
Win Percentage - 32%

Steve Bruce:

Played - 98
Won - 29
Drawn - 28
Lost - 41
Win Percentage - 30%

Roy Keane:

Games -100
Won - 42
Drawn -17
Lost - 41
Win Percentage - 42%

Next up is West Brom, and Tony Pulis will be rubbing his hands at the prospect. Frustrate the players, don't give them a second on the ball - we could write the team talk ourselves.

The return of Lee Cattermole could be very timely for Poyet as he will give us the drive and urgency this Sunderland team are desperately lacking. Players like Cattermole, Defoe and Johnson are key this weekend, all are match winners in their own right; be it a goal, assist or match saving tackle, we need them - and Gus needs them.

Gus banked a lot of points with the fans since the start of his tenure, winning consecutive derbies, the great escape and of course the cup run. I for one really do hope he turns it round as he is clearly a decent coach and could very well be a diamond in the rough.

However, the errors he has made in the transfer market, in front of the press and in key league games will likely be his downfall. Lose against WBA and it could be the end, or at least the beginning of the end. While I'm unsure if changing manager again is the answer and it the cost of relegation rising by the season, I can't help but wonder if Mr Short will be as patient.

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