GUS Poyet plans to rotate his Sunderland squad throughout a busy December fixture list ... but has reminded his players: “It’s business, not personal.”
The head coach is fully aware that egos could be bruised and noses put out of joint in the sensitive world of Premier League football by players being dropped out of the side or left on the bench.
But he hopes that won’t be the case at Sunderland where he believes everyone is pulling in the same direction. He told the Echo: “I get a good feeling about the place right now and I think that everyone wants to be involved, which is good.
“The most difficult part of the job for me right now is picking the team and leaving players out.
“That job becomes harder the higher up the divisions you progress because they are more talented and more skilful players that you have to disappoint.
“But I always aim to be fair and I hope the players understand that.
“The players need to believe that nothing is personal with the manager – that it is always done for the best interests of the team. If someone takes it personally it is up them, but they must understand it is never my intention.”
The head coach sprang a surprise at Villa Park at the weekend when he brought Fabio Borini, Craig Gardner and Andrea Dossena in from the cold at the expense of Adam Johnson, Jack Colback and Ondrej Celustka.
And he has signalled he is ready to make more changes as Sunderland embark on a daunting run of nine games in just 31 days, starting tonight when Chelsea come to town.
“I made changes at the weekend for a reason and no one should read too much into these things because each game can be different and with so many games coming up and so many different challenges, there could well be many changes.
“I believe the best teams in the world have two great players for every position and a system which works for them, so you can bring a player in or out without making a difference.
“The alternative is finding your best 11 and just sticking to it and if you do that then the rest of the squad have massive problems.
“I don’t think we are yet one or the other of those things.
“So for the moment it is up to me to pick the team rather than the team picking itself.
“And I will continue to do that for the immediate future - particularly with these games coming up where I need to pick the right team for the opposition we face.
“It will be a challenging time but the team I pick will always be the team I think best suited to winning each game and I think, I hope, the players here know that.”