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Gus Poyet: Brighton's new pitch will rival Barcelona's Nou Camp

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21 Apr 2011 00:38:56

Gus Poyet: Brighton's new pitch will rival Barcelona's Nou Camp

Gus Poyet won the Copa del Rey and the Spanish Super Cup with Real Zaragoza. He lifted the FA Cup and the European Super Cup with Chelsea. He won the Cup Winners' Cup with both of those clubs and the Copa America with Uruguay. But Poyet had never tasted promotion or won a league title until he arrived at Brighton and Hove Albion. His team booked their ticket to the npower Championship with a 4-3 win against Dagenham and Redbridge last week and the League One title was sealed with a 3-1 victory over Walsall on Saturday. The locations may lack the glamour of the Nou Camp or Wembley, the kind of stadiums Poyet  frequented as a player with Zaragoza, Chelsea and Tottenham, but that doesn't diminish the achievement. Or the obvious pride. From the Lane to the Lanes: Poyet (right) and former Spurs team-mate and now assistant at Brighton, Taricco His sons, Matias and Diego, who plays for Charlton and England Under 16s, and wife Madelon watched Albion beat Dagenham in the last night match at the Withdean Stadium, the club's makeshift home for the past 14 years. 'I would have liked to have my mum here. Even my Dadda is probably watching me,' says Poyet, 43, pointing to the sky. 'I'm a sport man and a person who only lives for football, 24/7, and to achieve things like this really makes you keep going. 'It's the first promotion of my career, as a player or manager. 'I was lucky enough to play in the first division, so I couldn't get up! I was very lucky.' But luck, you feel, has very little to do with it. The transition from star player to assistant at Swindon Town, Leeds United and Tottenham to manager has been a studied, conscious one. He says: 'I've learnt a lot. You have an idea, you put that idea on the pitch and you see if it works, if you win. Because it's about winning. 'There is no better feeling than sitting down, seeing the team playing the way you want and winning. Everything in my life is about winning. Nothing will take that away from me.' New dawn: Brighton will start nextseason in the 22,500-seat Amex Stadium Winning is a compulsion for Poyet. He is too intense to rely on luck. But for all the passion, there is a healthy dose of pragmatism, too. His team have won plaudits for the style they have brought to League One this season, but they ground out five 1-0 wins in March. Poyet says he built his side from the back, picking his goalkeeper first. 'I think we are as good as our back five or six,' he says. The decisions he has made about Albion's new home for next season, the 22,500-seat Amex Stadium in Falmer, have also been carefully calculated. Poyet says: 'The pitch is going to be the biggest pitch in England, because of the way we play. The teams that are going to come here are going to have a problem. 'They say, "Oh yeah, two yards, three yards, it doesn't matter". 'No, it does matter. Two yards is a goal. Two yards is a possibility to get away from a defender. 'When you go and play in the Nou Camp, you realise that when the pitch is big, it's big. I'm telling you, it's massive.' Poyet barely stops for breath when he speaks, his native Spanish tongue clicking over English consonants in his favourite word - 'complicated'. It is almost exhausting just listening to the man nicknamed 'La Radio' by his team-mates. There is evidently no 'off' switch. But his enthusiasm is electric and his intensity punctuated by moments of laughter and self-awareness. Why does he want the Amex Stadium to have 'the biggest dug-outs in the country', for instance? He looks at me like it is the most obvious question in the world. 'Because I like to watch football sitting down,' he says, smiling. 'I would love to have the sort of personality where you can just switch off, but managers can't. Not me. I would love to sometimes. 'It's a non-stop job, that's the complicated thing. It's constant. I need to know everything about the 25. When you're a player it's just you. 'We try to get a few rules at home now but it's complicated because the kids have got their own phones now. 'We sit down for dinner and everyone's got their phones so we say, "No phones at dinner". Like Fabio Capello (and the England team). 'But if the chairman (Tony Bloom) calls I answer. So how can you tell your kids and then answer the chairman? But we manage.' Cheerio: Brighton are waving goodbye to the Withdean Stadium at the end of this season Poyet and his assistant, Mauricio Taricco, 38, the former Ipswich Town and Tottenham defender, have taken to Brighton and Hove and the city has taken to them. The Uruguayan plans to move his family down from their home in Kent and buy 'somewhere by the sea'. 'I like the sea,' Poyet says. 'I come from a city, Montevideo, where we've got the sea in front. It's a bit colder here, of course. 'And no, I haven't been for a swim. No chance. I'm a really cold person. I saw they did that in the North East for charity and I thought, "No, you're mad". 'But I've really taken to the area. I think the Lanes - Lines or Lanes? Lanes (the twisting alleyways in Brighton) - are unique. 'We do a bit of shopping. And there's a tapas restaurant there (the owner's wife is Uruguayan). 'I was worried that I was going to get lost in there because I didn't know where to go, but now Tanu (Taricco) and I have got a way in and out. Maybe somebody will show us a different way. But I love it, I love it down there.'   Brighton breezy after promotion as Seagulls fans go season ticket crazyI'm in no hurry for a Chelsea return! Poyet revelling in Brighton promotionUp and downs: Sportsmail's guide to the all the end-of-term dramaHow the Dickens did Schalke do it? Brighton old boy Rangnick eyes glory  Explore more:People: Fabio Capello Places: United Kingdom


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