Poyet expecting little sympathy
Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet will return to former club Tottenham expecting no favours from old friend Tim Sherwood.
The 46-year-old Uruguayan spent three years at White Hart Lane as a player and had a spell there as a coach too before launching his managerial career.
He played in the same Spurs side as current manager Tim Sherwood, a man he hopes is given the chance to make his mark on the team amid speculation that a replacement is already being lined up.
However, he knows will receive no sympathy from his one-time team-mate as he looks for the victory he so desperately needs to give the Black Cats renewed hope that they can out of Barclays Premier League relegation trouble.
Poyet said: "No chance. From Tim Sherwood? No, no, no, no favours."
Indeed, Poyet admitted he would much rather have Sherwood alongside him rather than in the opposite dug-out.
Asked what kind of a character he is, the South American replied: "Top-class, I like him a lot. I like him with me, I don't like him against.
"He knows football, he cares about football. He knows the club well, he knows the players because he has been there for a while, he knows what the fans want.
"He has got a strong character, a presence. I don't know him as a manager day-to-day or tactically, but from outside he has all the attributes to be a very good manager."
Sunderland's mission in North London, and indeed for the rest of the season, is clear.
Only victories will get them out of trouble and that cannot happen quickly enough with just eight games remaining.
Poyet's men have won none of their last six league games and went into the weekend four points adrift of safety, a situation which worsened on Saturday when Fulham, Crystal Palace and West Brom all won to leave them three points further behind and at the foot of the pile.
Poyet will hope the experience of men such as skipper John O'Shea and central defensive partner Wes Brown will help to pull them through, although he is well aware they are more used to winning trophies from their time together at Manchester United rather than fighting for their lives.
He said: "I'm sure they don't like to be in this situation. The other one is easier. That pressure of being in there to win is beautiful.
Poyet admits there is pressure on his players, but he insists there always is and that it should not make any difference.
He said: "It's a good excuse. When I went on to the pitch and went across the line and played 200 games, it didn't matter where I was playing, the pressure was always the same.
"Sometimes I ask myself if I am on another planet now and football has changed that much."