Belfast Telegraph

Poyet fuming over fixture pile-up

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet has slammed his side's festive fixture pile-up and warned that England's World Cup chances will continue to be hit until Premier League chiefs vote to bring in a winter break.

The Black Cats' march into the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup means they face the prospect of playing 11 games in 38 days assuming they also reach the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Poyet insists the schedule is "not normal" but does not expect anything to change after years of similar protests from fellow top-flight and international managers have fallen on deaf ears.

Poyet said: "The next five or six weeks is something I don't understand - why the rest of the world are probably on holidays next week and we have to play 250,000 games in a month and a half.

"Nobody will convince me - it's not normal. I will even give you Boxing Day - I agree it is a special day in history and everybody wants to play that day - but then take the 27th off until the middle of January.

"Then probably your national team players will get you to the World Cup in a better condition. But I'm not in charge. It doesn't matter how many times I say it - the winter break is needed and we don't take it."

Poyet was, however, far from disgruntled that his side added two more games to their already hectic list when they overcame Chelsea in extra-time in midweek to land a two-legged tie with Manchester United.

And the Uruguayan believes the nature of the victory can only be good for confidence even if makes a mockery of his side's position firmly rooted to the foot of the Barclays Premier League table.

Poyet added: "We knew it was going to be a Premier League team and we know if we are going to win it we need to go through a tough semi-final and maybe an even tougher final.

"But that's the good thing about the cup - if you do things right and you believe, you find yourselves in a great situation.

"I think it's possible. We are there because we deserve to be there. It's strange that we're in the semi-final and bottom of the league, which is contradictory. But we will enjoy it as much as we can."


From Belfast Telegraph