So too, it would appear, is Gus Poyet’s growing paranoia when it comes to dredging up past
glories, as Niall Quinn earned a second unprompted namecheck within a fortnight. Poyet risked further alienating supporters after insisting he has no intention to go back to the ‘kick and rush’ of Peter Reid’s successful reign in order to appease disgruntled fans.
Defending the latest abject display from his side, Poyet admitted to a worrying disconnect between his team and supporters. But, not for the first time, he accused entertainment-starved fans of wallowing in former glories and pining for a return to happier times when a direct approach terrorised top flight defences.
“You can’t live in the past,” the Sunderland head coach said, in the wake of a seventh goalless draw of the season. “I admit, that was not nice to watch, but if we’re all together, then it’s easier. When the stadium is not happy, players don’t express themselves.
“Kick-and-rush is easy but that’s not something I want to watch, and we’re trying to find something better.” Asked if ‘kick-and-rush’ described Sunderland’s side that achieved back-to-back seventh-place finishes under Reid in 2000 and 2001, Poyet added: “Yes, I think it does. It worked for them and I respect that, but I don’t think too many teams in the Premier League play that now.
“I can’t bring Quinn and Phillips back. I think fans would like that and I think they are living in the past because today is totally different. It’s up to me to find a solution to reconnect with the fans by finding a way to bring more excitement to the stadium.”
Fulham manager Kit Symons is confident his side can finish a job almost completed by a late Hugo Rodallega shot that struck a post. “We fancy our chances,” he said. He added: “I was confident going into the game, and I’ll be equally as confident going into the replay.”
SUNDERLAND (3-5-2): Mannone 7; Vergini 4, O’Shea 6, Coates 4; Jones 7 (Buckley 76, 4), Larsson 6, Bridcutt 5, Rodwell 3, van Aanholt 6; Fletcher 3 (Wickham 67, 4), Defoe 6.
FULHAM (4-3-1-2): Bettinelli 9; Grimmer 7, Hutchinson 8, Bodurov 8, Stafylidis 7; Christensen 7, Tunnicliffe 8, Fofana 7 (Kacaniklic 76, 6); Ruiz 6; Woodrow 6 (Rodallega 76, 7), Dembele 6 (McCormack 62, 6).
Referee: A Taylor.