Gus Poyet is hoping he does not have to work another miracle as Sunderland’s Premier League mission begins at West Brom today.
The Uruguayan salvaged top-flight survival last season after inheriting a side with just one point from eight games and is adamant he does not want a repeat of the extremes which left them hanging until the penultimate match. He joked: “No more miracles. I don’t want to suffer any more.
“I have never had a season like last season, not as a player or a coach.
“I want us to play in a certain way every week without those dramatic ups and downs, without the spectacular month and then a month and a half where we do not win a game.
“That is not the way, because that means the team is not convinced about what it needs to do on the pitch. We need to maintain consistency.”
Insisting he is rejuvenated after a draining relegation run-in, the head coach added: “I am OK. I am confident. When we started planning the season I asked the chairman to give me a week and he said for me to disappear.
“On those first two days on holiday I don’t know if I even moved. I was just lying down thinking I wanted to stay here forever because it is hard.
“When you try things and it is not working it is hard. I suffered a lot last year but at the moment I am OK and the group is stronger.
“The pre-season we have just had – I don’t think the players have had that before.
“It has been a pleasure to watch them working very hard and to see Steven Fletcher training every day.”
Brushing aside continuing speculation linking his Scottish centre-forward with a move away from Wearside, Poyet said: “Fletch is here and I am absolutely convinced he is going to be here.
“It is up to us now and as a No 9 you need the team to perform in a certain way to put the ball in the net.
“If he misses then it is his fault, but we need to put a few balls into him.
“When you wear the No 9 at any club in the world you need to perform and score goals and this is probably the best he has been physically in the last three or four years.
“It is perfect for him to go out there and perform.”