Poyet has managed to overcome a mini-crisis to lead his side to four games without defeat, and a 0-0 draw with Premier League leaders Chelsea.
The first side to prevent the Blues from scoring, the Uruguayan coach has reverted to the basics of defending following the 8-0 thrashing at the hands of Southampton, and it has worked wonders. With Costel Pantilimon and Anthony Reveillere making their debuts in the fixture away at Crystal Palace, the Black Cats have since conceded just two goals, and, although they scored three against the Eagles, they have just one in the three following games - and goalscoring has been a big problem for the side this term.
With 12 goals in 13 games the Black Cats are the third lowest scorers in the entire division, and Steven Fletcher has the highest tally amongst the Wearside club’s ranks, with four. Connor Wickham has failed to build upon his promising end to last term, registering just one goal, and Jozy Altidore’s continuing failure to find the back of the net could see him leave the North East in the January transfer window.
Poyet has already confirmed that a striker is the main target for the club in January, and it is likely he will return his interest to Fabio Borini, with the Liverpool man enjoying a productive spell at the Stadium of Light last season. He was keen to stay and fight for his place in the Reds first-team this term, but chances have been limited, and it could be his desire to return to his old stomping ground come the turn of the year.
The knowledge that Poyet is targeting a striker is welcome news for the Black Cats faithful, with the football on show on Wearside not the most entertaining. Whilst results have been impressive - and Sunderland could well claim points off Manchester City and Liverpool in the coming days - the play has been extremely defensive, and that is something that Poyet intends to address in the near future.
Speaking to the Chronicle, the former Chelsea midfielder admitted that the club are far off his ideal vision, with a need to stabilise the side taking precedence over an attacking style.
“We are not even near where I want,” the ex-Brighton boss said.
“I would like to control games a lot more - pass the ball more and do plenty of things so we have to defend less.
“For different reasons, it’s not been possible so we’re trying to adapt to being a difficult team to beat and then taking our chances.”