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Lille (A) Thu 23 Oct 2014, 18:00, Europa League

'Poyet Could Save Black Cats'

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Everton v Swansea

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Roberto Martinez has tipped Gus Poyet to steer Sunderland away from the relegation zone.
 
The Black Cats will arrive at Goodison on Boxing Day propping up the Premier League table.
 
Only once in the history of the Premier League has a side bottom on Christmas Day survived the drop - West Brom achieving that feat in 2005.
 
But Martinez has been impressed by the changes introduced by Poyet following his appointment at the Stadium of Light.
 
He believes that as the season develops, Sunderland have the necessary personnel to put together a successful bid for Premier League survival.
 
And that is why he is guarding against complacency ahead of the Boxing Day encounter.
 
Martinez told evertonfc.com: "It is impossible for a player to be outstanding physically for three games in such a short period of time. You are going to get small margins that affect scorelines so it is important you use the full squad, everybody recovers well between games and has fresh concentration for each game. But we are playing at home and if we can take a positive out of it, not having to travel on Thursday and Sunday is a real advantage.
 
"We need to take that into playing in front of our fans and make sure they help up push through those small margins.
 
"Without a doubt, I can see that Gus (Poyet) is starting to have an impact. I've been very impressed - particularly the performance against Man City, the way they dictated possession, the way they were brave to play from the back. They opened up Man City and kept a clean sheet against them.
 
"The position they are in is going to affect results because I know that this league can be really difficult in that respect. Getting back-to-back results in this division is the difficulty but there is no doubt that Sunderland are capable of beating anyone. They showed that against Man City, Chelsea and Spurs - they have gone through to the semi-final in the League Cup and they are capable of beating anyone.
 
"Gus Poyet is going to take a little bit of time to get consistent results, but I can see Sunderland finishing strongly with the new vision of the new manager. Yes, I can definitely seem them surviving."
 
Having experienced a battle at the wrong end of the table, Martinez is sympathetic to the challenge facing Poyet and Sunderland.
 
He added: "This league is really, really demanding and difficult. You set a great level of performance and then the week after you find it hard to maintain it. That is why Sunderland are where they are. But if you look at the quality of their players and some of the partnerships they are starting to develop across the park, they are developing and Gus Poyet will bring a real bravery in terms of the way they play and Sunderland will take some benefit from that.
 
"They are going to be a strong team when May comes."

Three sell-outs over Christmas and New Year mean the next chance to watch Martinez's men in action is the FA Cup Third Round visit of QPR on 4 January.
 
Season Ticket holders will have until close of business on Thursday 26 December to claim their own seat at the discounted price of £20 (adults), £10 (concessions) and just £5 (kids).
 
FOREVERTON Members can also purchase a ticket within this priority window, at the general sale price of £25/£12.50/£5. Supporters are advised to purchase as early as possible to allow sufficient postage time over the festive period.
 
Tickets will go on general sale on Friday 27 December from 8am. Click here to buy now. 

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