GUS POYET says it would be the “perfect moment” for Sunderland to end their six-month search for a Premier League victory against Newcastle United this weekend.
Sunderland’s 3-0 success at St James’s Park in April proved pivotal towards the Black Cats remaining in the top flight last season.
The Wearsiders followed up their derby joy by beating Everton six days later, but Sunderland haven’t tasted a Premier League victory in the 12 subsequent games.
With only a solitary point on the board, Poyet’s side are already facing a huge battle to avoid relegation after suffering six straight league defeats.
But while the new head coach acknowledges the dramatic improvement Sunderland need to produce against the Magpies, he knows what a huge boost a derby success would bring for his beleaguered team.
“The only thing that matters is that it’s the derby, it’s Newcastle,” said Poyet.
“It’s a perfect moment to win a game, to start winning.
“But on the other hand, we need to change and improve dramatically if we want to win.
“I think a defeat like Swansea shows you why we are there (at the bottom). Nothing else.
“I don’t think you can analyse more than that.
“We work well to a point, but then everything goes awry because of whatever happens.
“That is something we need to address very quickly.”
Poyet has only been on Wearside three weeks, yet the Uruguayan insists he has been made fully aware of the stakes on Sunday by supporters from both clubs.
But he says his focus couldn’t turn to the derby until the conclusion of his opening game in charge against Swansea – an encounter which proved to be an inauspicious bow after the Black Cats’ shambolic second half collapse.
“It’s been difficult not to think about the derby,” added Poyet.
“I was out in Newcastle having dinner during the international break and they were already talking about it.
“But I wanted to wait until this week to deal with it.
“I’m the type of person that when we finish at 6pm on a Saturday, I’m normally dead.
“But from Sunday morning, whatever time I wake up, it’s all about the next game.
“Of course, I stop in the afternoon to watch the games on TV.
“But we couldn’t start looking at Newcastle until then.”