FORMER Black Cats’ boss Peter Reid says the club is in safe hands under the leadership of Gus Poyet, who could be the first manager to bring major silverware to Wearside since 1973.
Reid reckons that Poyet is as good an appointment by the club as Paolo Di Canio was a bad one.
And he believes that the Uruguayan’s man-management has been key to revival as the club bids to avoid relegation while continuing to make an impact in the cups.
“I’ve been very impressed by how well Gus has done, although I’ve always rated him as a promising young manager,” Reid told the Echo.
“You don’t usually get to take over a club as big as Sunderland unless they’re in trouble – that was true of me and true of him – and he went in with eyes wide open.
“But I think he was quickly able to get everyone to buy into what he wanted to do and that was essential because it’s getting a great team spirit that gives you half a chance.
“He’s done a great job and managed to get them to a cup final as well, which has got everyone talking positively about Sunderland again.
“It’s going to be a difficult game but Sunderland’s record against Manchester City is really good and anything can happen in a cup final, so you never know.”
Reid was always sceptical over the appointment of Di Canio at the helm almost a year ago and is glad that the club is now showing signs of getting over the nosedive it was in.
“If you’re going to be a success in management, you’ve got to carry your squad with you and I think Paolo as a character was always going to struggle to do that,” he said.
“You saw that with how he handled some of the problems he had.
“Players are always going to mess up but if you can tear a strip off them privately but give them another chance, the loyalty you can get from them can be something special and that carries the group forward.
“I think you’ve seen that from Gus in the way he has brought back Phil Bardsley, who seems very important to team spirit, and he has been rewarded with some really important contributions from him.
“I’m pleased for Gus, I liked him as a player, and I’ve managed against him as a manager and I’ve always been impressed by how smart he is football-wise and how quick he is to learn.
“One of the great things about him is that he is willing to change tack and that’s vital for any manager – the ability to try something and stick with it if it works but not be afraid to change it if it doesn’t.”
Poyet admitted on Saturday that his tactics and team didn’t work at Arsenal. But Reid, who will be at the cup final this weekend, says the Sunderland head coach will go again this Sunday.
“You have to be ready to accept knocks and setbacks, especially where Sunderland are at the moment,” said Reid. “And Gus will know that.
“It’s all about how you bounce back and I’m sure they will for what will be a great cup final day.
“I’m looking forward to it.”