Poyet looks forward to Blues clash
Gus Poyet is relishing the chance to go head-to-head with Jose Mourinho after seeing Sunderland book a Capital One Cup quarter-final clash with former club Chelsea.
The Uruguayan saw goals from full-back Phil Bardsley and substitute Sebastian Larsson clinch a 2-1 fourth round victory over Southampton at the Stadium of Light to set up another big date on Wearside next month.
It will be the Black Cats' first foray into the last eight in the League Cup since 2000 and was secured by just their fourth win of a difficult season, and the second in successive home games.
Poyet, whose side also face the Blues in the Barclays Premier League on December 4, said with a smile: "I suppose that's good news, yes?
"Look, they are the games I need to enjoy. In quarter-finals, you can't ask for any small team, you know you are going to get one of the big ones.
"It's going to be special for me - an official game against Chelsea is always very special - so I am looking forward to seeing Jose and company."
Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino made 10 changes to the side which drew 1-1 at Stoke on Saturday, while Poyet retained only four of the men who lined up at Hull the same day, and it took 59 minutes for the game to come to life.
Defender Wes Brown, whose last competitive start for the Black Cats came on January 29 last year, climbed at the far post to turn Adam Johnson's free-kick back across goal and when former Sunderland goalkeeper Kelvin Davis could only parry striker Jozy Altidore's header, full-back Phil Bardsley stabbed home the rebound.
Bardsley, of course, came close to leaving the club during the summer after falling out with former manager Paolo Di Canio, but Poyet insisted he never had any qualms about bringing him back in from the cold.
He said: "I'm not sure if it was a risk. As soon as I arrived, I saw him train. I saw how important he could be for us and the way he was training and wanting to play in friendlies behind closed doors.
"It's not something I analysed too much. He is part of the club, he is under contract and if he is good enough, he will play."
Larsson looked to have sealed the win four minutes from time when he made the most of Altidore's unselfish pass, and although Maya Yoshida's close-range header two minutes later made for an anxious conclusion, the home side held out with little difficulty.
Poyet said: "Of course, it's a cup competition, you need to win. Everybody knows a quarter-final is something we haven't achieved for many, many years, which is great for the football club.
"We are playing Chelsea, which is going to be special here at home.
"But the most important part was how. We passed the ball more today than in the last three games together, which is something we need to keep believing in because it has to be the way in the future."
Saints assistant manager Jesus Perez was disappointed by the defeat, but defended Pochettino's decision to ring the changes.
He said: "We are a little bit disappointed to be out of the cup because it was an important competition for us to provide minutes for our squad and for our youngsters who, as you know, we like to use.
"We have a squad and we need to use all the players and give minutes in this type of game because the season is so long.
"In the next couple of months, we have a very tough period of games and we need everyone in the best form because sure, it will be important for the rest of the season.
"We are a little bit disappointed to lose important games like the game today, but this is football and we have to look forward.
"We have to say well done to Sunderland. They tried to win the game and they deserve, obviously, to be still in this competition."
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