Poyet can handle the pressure, says Oatway

Gus Poyet will not wilt under the pressure of trying to guide Sunderland through a relegation battle.

Sunderland manager Gustavo Poyet

That is the view of Black Cats coach Charlie Oatway as Poyet's men prepare for Monday night's crucial Barclays Premier League clash with West Ham at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland have occupied a place in the relegation zone for much of the season and have taken just a single point from their last four league games to leave themselves in a parlous position.

However, the 46-year-old Uruguayan remains confident he can inspire the change in fortunes which is required during the remaining weeks of the campaign, according to his assistant.

Oatway said: "You will never change Gus, you will never change Gus. He sees the common sense in football and how it's played, and the rights and wrongs, and that's for our team as well as anyone else.

"As far as he is concerned, and the way he sets up, he feels and wants to win every game.

"I know every manager is like that, but some are a little bit more cautious when they go to certain places. That's certainly not Gus' way.

"Regarding how Gus is holding up, yes, he's fine. He's the same.

"He will keep going, he will keep training, he will make sure that everything is done to the letter that he can possibly do to the last crossing t's and dotting i's. And then once they go over that white line, there's nothing you can do then."

Poyet and his staff have attempted to instil a very definite football philosophy since their arrival on Wearside in October last year and there have been notable successes, particularly in the cup competitions.

However, results - and perhaps more worryingly, goals - have been more difficult to come by in the league and a run of eight home games which has brought just a single win is a cause for concern, with the fixture list suggesting that is where their best chance of survival lies.

But despite the pressure under which they find themselves, Oatway is adamant Poyet will not abandon his beliefs for a tense run-in.

He said: "It's a tough one. We need to make sure we get the results, that goes without saying.

"But the philosophy of how we want to play and how we do play I don't think is going to change that much.

"We could say we are going to change it against West Ham, we are going to play 11 players who we feel can get the ball forward and get it into the box.

"But we haven't got that and we would lose against West Ham, we would lose in that sort of manner, so we can't do that, we have to do what we are good at.

"That's the plan we have got at this club and that's us as a management group.

"If that means we have to take a long through towards the end to try to get it into the box, we would do that, that goes without saying.

"But the way that we play and they way that we want to play, I don't think that's going to change. But we do need results and we are under no illusions about that."

A result on Monday evening could hardly be more timely, but Oatway knows that will not be easy with Sam Allardyce's pugnacious side still needing points to ease their own fears of being dragged into the battle.

He said: "Sam likes to get his teams well-organised, well-drilled in the way he wants them to play, and they will be that.

"They certainly won't let us down, that goes without saying. If you are winning the game, you know the kitchen sink is coming at you."

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