Just one point separates the sides towards the bottom of the Premier League table, but Poyet has rejected his forward Jermain Defoe???s claim that the match is ???like a cup final???.
“We’ve been treating every game for the last two months like it was the most important game and a cup final,??? said Poyet. “I think we need to be more calm and positive, and believe in the team.”
The Black Cats have failed to win any of their last six games in all competitions ??? scoring just two goals ??? and Defoe himself has failed to find the net in his last four appearances, after a promising start to his Sunderland career.
But Poyet insists he is not concerned. “I am not even worried that he did not score in the last few games because it is just a matter of time,??? he said.
“Jermain brings things in a different way and creates chances for himself. We need to make sure we do things a little more simple. We have been forcing things for him and we need to go back to basics, and then he will score like he did in his first few games.”
Aston Villa go into the game in contrasting form, having won their last two under new manager Tim Sherwood, and Poyet was full of praise for his??former Tottenham team-mate. ??
“I had the feeling when I was playing with him that I had a proper senior man next to me, and that means you’ve got the kind of presence you need to be a manager,” he said. “Tim is a good strong character and what you see is what you get.
???I think the two games Villa have won were two derbies, which is totally different. We won the derby and we were flying, and then we lost at home against Hull.???
Poyet will be without??Lee Cattermole??on Saturday as the midfielder is starting a two-game suspension after picking up his 10th booking of the season, while Adam Johnson remains suspended by the club.
But Poyet is convinced attacking midfielder Ricardo Alvarez is more than capable of making up for the key absences.
“He is very important,” he said. “He knows that and he’s very happy about it, so let’s see what he can do.”
Poyet has also confirmed that he will formally appeal a Football Association charge of improper conduct at a hearing next week.
He was charged after kicking a container of bottles during the 1-1 draw at Hull earlier this month.??