Gus Poyet made his first move ahead of the January transfer window last night when he signed Fiorentina’s Marcos Alonso on loan.
The 22-year-old Spaniard can play left-back or in midfield and will stay at Sunderland until at least the end of this season.
He is best known in England for his three-year stay at Bolton Wanderers.
The player’s father – Marcos senior – told Italian media that his son was set for a medical in Sunderland over the next few days.
Alonso signed a three-year deal with Fiorentina last summer but failed to nail down a regular starting place with the Serie A outfit.
This won’t be the last piece of business Poyet conducts over the next four weeks, with a striker his priority, and this initial signing of Alonso ends a good few days for the Sunderland manager.
The Black Cats boss wants to see a change in the team’s mentality following the welcome and much-needed Boxing Day win against Everton at Goodison Park, a bogey ground for so many years.
The straight-talking Poyet has no interest in anyone looking for a reason as to why results have not been going their own way.
Rather, the Sunderland manager has demanded the players start to take charge of their own destiny, starting today at Cardiff City, and expects nobody to look for an excuse to explain a poor performance and result.
The Wearsiders are looking to make it four Premier League games without defeat, but a win is what the Uruguayan wants.
He has challenged his players to show that they are ready to prove all the doubters wrong and save themselves this season.
Poyet said: “The win at Everton has to change the players’ mentality. It has to.
“There are no more excuses. We played very well at West Ham and didn’t concede, we beat Chelsea in the cup and then drew with Norwich at home when we really needed to win it.
“We didn’t perform that day and somehow we go to Goodison and keep a clean sheet, even with two new centre-halves.
“I am a person who likes to see the team out on the pitch without any excuses.
“I don’t want to hear about the flight not being on time, or the bus being late, or there was a party going on in the hotel.
“I don’t want to hear any of that. I want to put the team on the pitch without any excuses.
“So this Saturday, apart from a few heavy legs because we worked hard at Everton, the confidence should be high because we haven’t lost in the last four, although I’m sure nobody remembers that.
“We have had two draws and two wins.
“The wins against Chelsea and Everton shows if we can maintain that we are a difficult team to beat.
“We have to be like that on Saturday, January 1 and then January 11.”
Poyet admitted after the Everton game he had no idea why his team tend to play well and take points from the Premier League’s better sides.
Yet when it comes to those team who are also fighting to keep out of the relegation places, it tends to be a struggle.
This is something which has to be resolved – and what better place to begin than in south Wales.
Cardiff will be, of course, without Malky Mackay this afternoon after he was sacked yesterday by Vincent Tan.
While the trend is for teams to do well after losing a manager, this very different set of circumstances could work in Sunderland’s favour.
Poyet added: “I believe the success of this season will be down to games such as the one against Cardiff.
“What will happen on Saturday, who knows?”
The Sunderland manager took a swipe at the festive card, which left his team with two away games in the space of three days.
Poyet said: “Whoever organised our fixtures, to make us go to Goodison on Boxing Day and then down to Cardiff two days later, I just don’t know. Maybe it was our enemy.
“Why not play on Sunday or Monday?