Gus Poyet has become the latest man to feel the wrath of Ellis Short’s whip as he was sacked yesterday as head coach of Sunderland AFC.
The Uruguayan was given the boot after just one victory in their last 12 league games. This also ran parallel with their uninspiring home form which has seen them win twice in the league all season.
They’ve also recently suffered damaging home defeat against relegation rivals Hull, QPR and Aston Villa.
Sunderland’s gutless and shambolic 4-0 defeat against Villa on Saturday was the final straw for Short. Who later brought to an end Poyet’s 17 month spell at The Stadium of Light.
The decision Sunderland have taken is no doubt a brave one as they lay preciously just one point above the relegation zone with nine games remaining.
But what are the challenges that’ll be facing the new manager?
The Black Cats have struggled to put the ball in the net as they’ve scored just 23 goals in the Premier League all season. Only Villa have netted fewer than that (19), while Sunderland have struck just once in their last six matches.
Former Tottenham forward Jermain Defoe was drafted in, in January to end Sunderland’s worries in front of goal. However, following just two goals from the once prolific striker - questions were raised over how Poyet accommodated Defoe into his tactics.
They also need to find a winning formula quickly. Sunderland have won just four league games all season. They’ve played out 14 draws - eight of which have been goalless, so victories are a must for the new head coach.
Is this the solution to Sunderland’s misery?
Poyet’s departure means the Black Cats are now searching for their seventh manager in just six years. This highlights Sunderland’s lack of consistency and continuity.
With a new manager coming and going every season Sunderland have regressed and constantly find themselves toying with relegation season after season.
The experienced heads of Martin O’Neill and Steve Bruce have all come and failed. While young hot-shots Paolo Di Canio and Poyet have also fallen short of the grade.
That said, there’s always an overhaul of players in the summer as the new manager brings in the players he wants for the season ahead.
This constant chopping and changing has prevented Sunderland from making progress. In the long-term maybe they have to take step back first before they can move forward?
However, one thing’s for sure in the short-term the Black Cats ambitions have been put on hold, until the summer. They’re reported to be lining Dutch journeyman Dick Advocaat in a short-term deal until the end of the season.
Sunderland need to get themselves over the line of safety before they can think about next season. Right now their Premier League status is hanging by a thread and the next nine games will be like cup finals for all the teams down there.
Written by Sam Lightle of Sunderland fanzine A Love Supreme and can be found on Twitter @SamLightle