Gus Poyet is determined to keep Sunderland’s derby-day hero Fabio Borini at the Stadium of Light – and has promised the “unlucky” striker a fair crack of the whip in the coming weeks.
Borini’s agent Marco De Marchi was quoted as demanding talks with Liverpool in January after becoming disillusioned at a lack of games since joining Sunderland in September, although he rowed back from that position in an interview yesterday.
Poyet would certainly not be prepared to allow Borini to leave without a fight.
He will seek talks with the Italy international to reassure him he has a part to play in Sunderland’s survival effort.
Poyet feels Borini would have had more of an opportunity to play if it had not been for the flurry of red cards which changed the game at Hull – the first Premier League match he had started under the new manager.
Poyet said: “If I was him I’d be moaning but he has great character and we have a very good relationship.
“Every player wants to play all the time but I am sure he will play a lot.
“He was very good for the first 20 minutes against Swansea and had more chances than anyone else in those 20 minutes.
“He had half an hour against Newcastle and, again, he had more chances than anyone else.
“I’m sure his family are thinking, why doesn’t he manager play him?
“He has done well and is probably the one who has been really unlucky with the situation we have been in and he will play.”
Now he will seek talks with the striker in a bid to clear up any confusion. Poyet added: “To be honest, I would like to talk to him not the agent.
“He is very useful, a very important player for us and he is a player who has been really unlucky. He needs to play.
“He played in that strange game against Hull and paid the price for the two sendings-off as we changed things. He is a player who has been very unlucky because if there is one player who should have had a little bit more from the manager it is Fabio.”
Meanwhile, Poyet has insisted Lee Cattermole can play with Ki – as the midfielder prepares to return from suspension.
Cattermole is unlikely to start at Aston Villa after completing a three-match ban but the combination is an option moving forward. Poyet said: “I think they can. For different reasons they haven’t played together so I think it would depend on the game and the situation.
“One likes to be on the ball constantly and the other has unbelievable heart and work rate, which is amazing. It is about create an understanding as well and I don’t think they have played too much together.
“It is an option. I wouldn’t like to say yes or no, because even if sometimes you want things to be black and white there is plenty of grey.”