Gus Poyet has admitted he is close to running out of patience with a Sunderland squad that he feels needs to be shaken up.
But as Poyet confesses that the quality of his January recruits holds the key to turning around their desperate Premier League position, he has reasserted his desire to keep hold of Steven Fletcher – a target for Hull City, Celtic and Stoke.
Sunderland have landed left-back Marcos Alonso and have made bids for Brighton pair Liam Bridcutt and Will Buckley but Poyet has hinted that others will be targeted as he looks to alter the “balance” of his squad and improve its quality.
It is also a further indication of his frustration with a group who have let him down at key moments this season, something that he has mentioned on several occasions.
“I am close to running out of patience with some players. Close. I said (I was) fed up the other day, I wanted to say ‘nearly fed up’ but ‘nearly fed up’ is so close that it’s not worth it making the distance,” he said.
“I think the situation is that we’ve been here now (bottom of the league) this season for five months. I’m not just talking about me, (I’m talking about) the previous manager and Kevin Ball as a caretaker with this group of players and we’re still bottom.
“So I’m going to change something, that’s for sure. I’m not going to go with the same group of players to the end because if I do it’s going to be more difficult.
“I need to choose well and
make sure that we get the ones that can really help us to change the season around. That’s simple.
“I can give you a number (of players I want) but it’s so insecure, it can change at any time.”
While Poyet admits the need for new recruits, he was strident in his desire to keep hold of last season’s top goalscorer Steven Fletcher, who has been linked with a move away.
And while he said that he is convinced Fletcher remains the key to staying in the Premier League there also appeared to be an admission that the Scotland international is not happy about being left out of the team.
“Three days ago we were talking about how happy we were with him after he’d scored a great goal against Cardiff. He had a great chance the other day but did not score. It happens. It’s football.
“I’ve got no issues with Steven, that’s why he’s playing. If I had issues I wouldn’t be playing him.
“We need to use the squad because of the quantity of games.
“I don’t take anything personal with any player, sometimes they get it wrong.
“If they don’t play sometimes it can be a tactical reason and sometimes we don’t explain it because if you did that every time you would not stop calling players and explaining things every week.
“The idea is we try to get the best out of them. That is our job.”
Poyet did admit that a mega offer for the formerWolverhampton Wanderers and Hibernian striker might colour the issue somewhat.
He said: “To be honest, we are not selling anyone.
“I’m not the type of person to say ‘No one is for sale’ and then we sell one. Why?”
“Because every single player has a price.
“That is the truth. Now I can come to the press conference and say ‘No one will leave the football club’ and blah, blah, blah but how will I come back if we sell one? It would be a lie.
“Of course I don’t want to sell Fletcher.
“He’s our top scorer and he’s the one who is going to score the goals and make the difference.
“I’m not going to talk about names but I remember when Chelsea were buying players under (Claudio) Ranieri and paying over the top by £10million... We would sell.
“If someone comes with £25million or £30million then pick a name.”