Former Sunderland boss Gus Poyet was unveiled as the new manager at Ligue 1 side FC Bordeaux over the weekend, with one of his former charges describing life under the ‘picky’ Uruguayan at the Stadium of Light.
El Hadji Ba only ever made a handful of appearances for Sunderland after signing from Le Havre in 2013. Signed by Paolo Di Canio, the French U20 international failed to live up to his billing and moved onto Charlton after a couple of years on Wearside.
Speaking about his time playing under Poyet, the midfielder - who now plays his football in the French second tier - outlined the philosophy the former Brighton manager tried to instill at Sunderland:
His reference is Barça. He wants his team to play; that his players take pleasure in training. In training, we always had the ball, we practically only played, often in reduced form, with a lot of intensity.
Poyet was sacked as Sunderland manager in March 2015 after 17 months in charge. His appointment at Bordeaux comes nearly four years since he guided the Black Cats to their first cup final in over 20 years, leading his team to the League Cup showpiece in 2014.
Ba goes onto suggest the 50-year-old knew what he was looking for from his players:
He’s very picky. He explains what he is waiting for, but if you do not respect what he asks, he can lose his temper.
Poyet has installed his former assistant at Sunderland, Mauricio Taricco, as his number two at Bordeaux. The two men were teammates together during their playing days at Tottenham.
Les Girondins are mid-table in Ligue 1. Poyet replaces Jocelyn Gourvennec, who left his post on Thursday following a 2-0 defeat by Caen.
After leaving Sunderland, Poyet went on to manage AEK Athens, Real Betis and Shanghai Shenhua, but none of the stints were successful and were short-lived. The Uruguayan lasted six months in Greece, eleven games in Spain and just ten months in China.
Poyet was briefly linked with a return to Sunderland after the sacking of Simon Grayson last year, and did suggest he would be open to a second spell on Wearside before Chris Coleman was appointed.