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Sunderland manager Poyet stands by Altidore

JozyAltidoreSunderland2-CarlisleUnited (Getty)


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.


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  2. Anyone who has watched the last 2 sunderland games knows that jozy has played much better. Collecting the ball, distributing and helping created chances. Many times altidore is on an island upfront asked to gain possession and keep it all on his own. Honestly think he is playing exactly how poyet wants… jozy has the strength and size to hold off CBs and allow the midfield to capitalize. It shows in sundys results.

  3. And thats what good managers do, Stand by their players. Same is the case with Torres and Soldado currently. Though these strikers do not score of goals they ought to, but they do help in building up the game play by coming a bit backwards, helping the midfielders.

  4. The fact that Poyet feels the need to come out and say he supports Antiscore means he knows Dozy should’ve been relegated to the practice squad by now.
    “Maybe we need to beat the keeper and give it to him to tap in.”

    • Just because you mention the word fact in your seriously biased opinion does not make it a fact. Stop saying you state “facts” when all you are doing is making very poor…conclusions using the same data we all have at our disposal. Well not unless you have Gus on speed dial and he likes lying to the press.

    • so you said the exact same thing earlier. the question is why would any us soccer fan go to such lengths to personally attack and disparage a us player? because you dont like his “personality?”

  5. I have seen most all of Jozy’s minutes this year. Sunderland is a team without a ton of talent, especially when it comes to playing expansive football. They are a conservative, short passing, South-American style team that tries to own the middle and to play quick combinations. This type of style does not exactly reward Jozy’s game in the goal-scoring sense. He prefers crosses and through passes that let him overpower opponents with his running and his physical play. That being said, the team has nevertheless been helped by his target play up top because he opens up more space in midfield for players like Ki, Johnson. He has had problems with touch/combinations, yes, but he has also occupied one or more players in the box and he has been a constant threat. In recent weeks what has put him in good standing is that extra effort on and off the ball. I think the signing of another striker and the approach of the WC has provided that motivation. By the way, Poyet is orchestrating one of the great comebacks ever in the premier league.

    • having seen most of their matches myself, I’d say that until Jozy was asked to drop back and play that holding/linking role their midfield was pure poison and not anything like a South American styled team, and that because Jozy can play quick combos and one touch passing better than any other player on that team (have been saying this for months) his move to that role has been a key difference in that team. agree that he has opened up space for others, a very good point

      Poyet has been the maestro

  6. JOZY is destined to be our savior striker

    To score 4 goals in Brazil and lead the USA to the quarter-finals. to score 10-15 league goals each season for whatever club in whatever league he is in

  7. I think the Newcastle game will improve the odds his scoring will pick up for a simple reason…he battled hard for his teammates. He played a killer pass that lead to A. Johnson’s Goal, he won free kicks, passed well and won balls with his back to the goal, etc.

    You better believe the rest of the team noticed his unselfish play. Hence the midfielders/wingers will be looking to put him in favorable positions far more in the future.

  8. I am going to wade in here and surely get ripped a new one. Oh well. I want Jozy to succeed but the facts are this: He is not paid for his hold up play. He is not paid to be unselfish. He is not paid for the occasional nice back heel. He is paid to score goals, period.

    Our collective American soccer inferiority complex has a side that isn’t recognized often enough; that of not being able to objectively analyze our fellow American players. If a manager in England talked about a player like he did about Josmer and that player wasn’t American we’d all be thinking the guy was on the verge of dropping out of the 18 and training with the reserves. Which is where Altidore will be very soon if he doesn’t start putting that damn thing in the back of the net. This isn’t AYSO.

    • “But his performance was one of the biggest and most important points for us.” Not so sure he’s getting cut any time soon, no matter how much they paid.

      I think you definitely have a point about American soccer fans standing by their players, but in this case you’re a couple weeks too late with your analysis. A 3-0 Derby win, a Cup final coming up, and reprieve from the relegation zone after a long run of good results means that this team isn’t in crisis, isn’t at the point where players need to be benched and fingers pointed. Jozy needs time and they’re willing to give it to him because of those nice passes and hold-up play making the team better overall.

    • That this even needs to be explained to you demonstrates your lack of understanding…Even after that miserable performance against Kiddeminster, Jozy started and finished against Sunderland’s biggest rival. If Poyet did not believe what he said, why start Jozy, let alone allow him to go the full 90, especially for a team struggling to escape relegation?

    • “He is paid to score goals, period.”

      no, he is paid to help the team win, whether that be drawing cards, making decoy runs, creating scoring chances for others, or yes, even scoring goals himself. as long as they are winning with him in the lineup, he can make a strong case for remaining in the lineup.

      and i’m not as confident as others seem to be that poyet’s latest comment means jozy remains in the first 11. if new signing scocco can score goals while also helping the team win, then it’s a no-brainer that he takes jozy’s spot.

      • Look at the facts: one goal and one decent game all season. It he had come in a free transfer Dozy wouldn’t see the fiels anymore this season and he would be traded at the end I the year.

      • that you say he’s had only one decent game all year reveals all regarding your ability to do what you ask of others, which is look at the facts

  9. When Jozy scores his first goal, watch the team’s reaction. That will give some of you a clue as to how much he’s currently valued at Sunderland.

  10. On a related note, Jozy spoke about his struggles to score in a Sunderland Echo interview. I will put the link below, but not sure if it will work. He pretty much just gives voice to what most of us suspected, that he’s thinking too much instead of just reacting and also just adapting to different league, different system, and different style. He sounds upbeat and optimistic, though.

    • LoL not likely though. Many people only hear what they want to hear… will pluck out a word out of context or a single criticism in a sea of praise in order to reinforce their beliefs. I really do think sticking with it and fighting through this will be a great learning experience and reap rewards for Jozy (and the USMNT) down the road… make him a more complete player. Right off the top, being so isolated/called to do it with such frequency w/ Sunderland, I already think his hold up play has improved significantly.

      Saw a few other quotes from Poyet the last 2 weeks that were very supportive of Jozy, spoke of his lack of service, lack of support and that as a team they needed to do better. Managers most often do see and appreciate the less glamorous but essential work players do outside of scoring.

  11. glad to hear he isn’t losing his position at Sunderland. Jozy has always been up and down; hopefully we see the in form Jozy sometime soon at the EPL level..

  12. I think what Poyet is trying to say is that ANY goal, regardless if it’s a wonder goal or tap-in, will get Jozy his confidence back and score on a more consistent basis.

    • Obviously. It’s sad that this has to be explained to the guys with h8er shades that can’t read anything positive without twisting it into a negative. We need to screen out the congressmen.

    • I think the bottom line is that Gus clearly appreciates Jozy’s ability and the things he does to help the team even when he’s not scoring. Gus is a guy who wants his team to pass it up the pitch, so he likes that Jozy is a good and unselfish passer. Obviously, the goals have to start coming at some point, but it seems pretty clear that Jozy has a long leash if he continues to put in a strong shift the way he has the past two matches, and Gus has faith that the goals will come.

  13. Yeah I’m not sure this is praise. Poyet basically said he can only score on tap ins.If he said this in Spanish could be lost in translation.

  14. at least we can move past this, “Jozy needs to move,” phase. so much impatience among some US fans. some of those Sunderland fans and a few commentators can suck it too. great to hear Jozy take responsibility and to show he has the right attitude in this difficult time. then to see that his coach has his back and has total faith in him is icing on the cake.

  15. 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.


    If he wasn’t their top money signing, this comment would NEVER EVER have been made. EVER.

      • I thought Clint looked ok. He kept the ball well and distrubted. Combined pretty well at times too. Still missing that little extra something however.

      • I am still convinced that Dempsey has an “ON” button that he is just steering clear of until June. Guy always plays up to the situation, and you’ve got to feel he’s in part just thinking about staying fit now, not busting it for Fulham.

      • I thought Clint looked OK today in the hole behind the lone striker. He did get lots of attention whenever he received the ball and was fouled enough to win some decent free kicks. No matter who you are when you get the ball facing away from goal and surrounded by defenders, most of the time it will not be a chance to attack. I think whenever a player in that spot can make a good pass or turn and face the goal, he has done well and his team will benefit. I think both Jozy and Clint were “enjoying” all the defensive attention.

    • Sounds like a comment made in jest to me. There was a ton more substantive stuff in there than that comment.

      It’s just good to know that he has a manager who understands precisely what the young lad is going through.

      • It’s concerning really that the jest even has to be made. How long do we expect this good will to last? I think Poyet is doing his best not to alienate anyone this early into his tenure.

      • Com’on now, Chin maybe it’s just a guy who is all to familiar with Jozy’s situation trying to take some of the pressure off? He’s starting the kid and the kid is getting closer and closer and like any striker once he hits that target…

        There is a ton of cynicism in the world, easy to find actually, but how you get a healthy dose from that line, that light hearted joke and miss all of the good stuff in there is a bit much for me.

      • Mr. chin,

        Poyet is getting this club out of the relegation zone. Alienating Jozy would not get him in any trouble.

        You act as if it was your money that bought Altidore.

        You’ve said in that past that Jozy is representing the US and is bringing shame on American player with is performance.

        This is, of course, pure male hippopotamus manure.
        Look up how male hippos project there manure everywhere in large, foul quantities if you are interested.

        Jozy is not bringing shame on American players.
        If anything, read Poyet’s comments and you will see how his calm, professional , mature, team first behavior is showing Poyet and everyone in the EPL how real American men handle adversity, with class and dignity. If Jozy cannot score he is doing what he can to help the team and those contributions are working.
        So Poyet is giving him a chance to work out his problems. And Poyet isn’t really GIVING anything to Jozy. JOzy is EARNING that chance by contributing to wins with his hard work.
        There is no shame in struggling your first season in England. Dempsey did. Lukaku did.
        Alfonso Alves, a Brazilian international, moved to Middlesbrough, in the BPL at the time, from Heerenveen for about 20 million,more than twice what Jozy cost, scored 4 goals , saw Middlesbrough relegated and eventually transferred. Quite a bust but that hardly dented the reputation of Brazilian players.
        Now if Jozy continues his drought, Poyet will eventually bring in someone else who can do more for Sunderland than Jozy can.
        But no one will go on whining and crying about it anywhere near as loudly as you do.

      • Poyet has found a starting lineup that can win. I think he is not going to change that lineup unnecessarily, no matter how much chin or sunderland fans whine, at least not until the team stops winning.

    • he just needs a couple goals and they will start to flow

      …jeez this is like Torres at Chelsea, almost ridiculous on how much they were trying to give him a goal


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