By RYAN TOLMICH
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has reiterated his faith in the struggling Jozy Altidore, despite the American’s troubles in front of goal.
Altidore, who was brought in by previous manager Paolo Di Canio, has struggled to find the back of the net this season, having scored only two goals in all competitions. However, Poyet insisted that he still has the utmost confidence in the 24-year-old forward and has told him not to dwell on the lack of scoring. He was particularly impressed with Altidore’s performance in Sunderland’s 3-0 win over rivals Newcastle on Saturday.
“Jozy had a magnificent game at the weekend,” Poyet told Mirror Football. “I was so sad that he didn’t score that chance. They practically gave it to him! But I said to him in the dressing room, ‘Now you know how important you are, and you can feel it.’ If we keep winning, his goal is going to come. But his performance was one of the biggest and most important points for us.”
Altidore pestered Newcastle’s back line throughout the match and played a major part in Adam Johnson’s first-half goal.
Poyet, who spent eight years in the English Premier League as a player, understands the mindset of a striker, but praised Altidore’s commitment to the team.
“It’s difficult, because I know strikers,” Poyet said. “I played with a lot of strikers who were top scorers, and when they didn’t score for a while, they would not pass the ball to you – they would shoot from anywhere because they wanted to score. He is not doing that, which is great and a credit to him. Somehow, we need to try to get him a goal. Maybe we need to beat the keeper and give it to him to tap in.”
Altidore and Sunderland will look to build on last week’s victory over Newcastle as the Black Cats host Hull on Saturday.
What do you think of Poyet’s comments? How important is it for Altidore to have his manager’s backing? Could his performance against Newcastle be the turning point in Altidore’s season?
Share your thoughts below.