Sunderland Hires Gus Poyet to Replace Di Canio as Manager

Sunderland hired Gustavo Poyet to replace Paolo Di Canio as coach as it seeks to climb out of last place in English soccer’s Premier League.

The Uruguayan agreed to a two-year contract and will be joined by his assistants Mauricio Taricco and Charlie Oatway, Sunderland said in a statement. Poyet, who was fired for misconduct by second-tier Brighton on June 23, is the northeast England team’s sixth manager in five years.

Sunderland, which has one point from seven matches, fired Di Canio on Sept. 22 after six months in charge. The last team to avoid relegation after taking a single point from its opening seven Premier League games was Newcastle in 1999-2000, according to Opta Sports.

“We analyzed a wide range of candidates and believe that Gus’s track record, experience, commitment and passion make him the right man to take us forward,” Sunderland Chairman Ellis Short said in the statement on the team’s website.

Poyet, a former Chelsea and Tottenham midfielder, coached Brighton for four years. He unsuccessfully appealed in July against his dismissal, the reason for which hasn’t been revealed by Poyet or the club.

Poyet, 45, guided Brighton to the third-tier League One title in 2011, 17 months after taking over, and was voted manager of the year by the division’s coaches. The Seagulls finished fourth in the Championship last season, their highest league finish for 30 years, and lost to Crystal Palace in the semifinals of the playoffs for a Premier League berth.

Coaching Career

He began his coaching career in England in 2006 as assistant manager at Swindon Town, before taking a similar role with Leeds United. Poyet returned to former club Tottenham as first-team coach before becoming assistant manager to Juande Ramos and then joined Brighton in 2009.

Di Canio won three of his 13 games after replacing Martin O’Neill as Sunderland coach in March. The day after the team lost 3-0 at West Bromwich Albion on Sept. 21, players approached the club’s Chief Executive Officer Margaret Byrne to complain about Di Canio, the BBC reported.

He was fired the same day. Kevin Ball, the club’s senior professional development coach, has been in temporary charge of the team.

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