Cats boss won't be drawn on squad size; Boss won't be drawn on squad size.
Byline: Stuart Rayner Sports writer email@example.com
GUSTAVO Poyet is refusing to say whether he is happy or not with the size of his Sunderland squad - because he has to deal with it regardless.
Poyet is not the Black Cats' manager, but their head coach - an important distinction which means that while he picks the teams and the tactics, transfer policy is out of his hands.
There have been plenty of unattributed stories during Poyet's tenure - which recently entered its second year - that the Uruguayan was considering resignation over the frustrations of working with a sporting director. Even with Anthony Reveillere available to make his debut, Poyet has very few options to change the side which lost 8-0 at Southampton last week for this afternoon's Premier League visit of Arsenal.
On his feelings about the squad which started the season, Poyet said: "Some people said I was happy, some said I was unhappy. I didn't say both things, I said I'm okay.
"I accept it and I get on with it. Which means I'm not going to tell you I'm happy or not happy. Don't say that. I'm okay, I get on with it because that is where we are. There's nothing to change. Now we've got an extra player and we will get on with it.
"I'd like to have (Cristiano) Ronaldo after watching him for five minutes of the highlights (of Wednesday's Champions League game) because I couldn't even watch Liverpool v Real Madrid because I was too busy watching Arsenal (who won 2-1 at Anderlecht)." Sunderland received international clearance for Reveillere's signing yesterday, making the 34-year-old available if his match fitness is judged sufficient.
The former France full-back was a free agent, allowing him to sign outside of the transfer window, at least giving Poyet a choice to make defensively.
His only four fit senior defenders played at St Mary's and the tactical half-time decision to withdraw Wes Brown backfired disastrously, with Liam Bridcutt's own goal the first of five conceded while the midfielder filled in at right-back.
Emanuele Giaccherini, Billy Jones and the on-loan duo of Ricky Alvarez and Sebastian Coates are Sunderland's only injuries.
Adam Johnson and Jack Rodwell could both come into the side, but with goalkeeper Vito Mannone's place guaranteed, the scope for further change is limited. Cabral, Charis Mavrias and Danny Graham were on the bench last week but none have started a Premier League game under Poyet.
"When everybody is okay, it doesn't look bad," said the coach. "Unfortunately we have four injuries to players who are important to the team and we are suffering, especially at the back. I'm not trying to criticise someone or the club, I just said we are short so that when things happen, it doesn't look like I'm just making excuses.
"I think I'm realistic and I know where we can go. Some things I would do, some things would be different, but it's how you adapt. My job is a normal role and I do it to the best of my ability. I wouldn't change anything about it."
Jack Rodwell could come back into <BSunderland's starting line-up today