Sunderland coach Gus Poyet said he believes that Jozy Altidore’s lack of goals in the Premier League this season is down to the Black Cats failure to play to the striker’s strengths. The USA international, who arrived from Dutch side AZ over the summer for $13 million after scoring 31 goals in his final season for the Eredivisie team, has been unable to find the back of the net in 10 EPL appearances. Even so, Poyet, who replaced Paolo Di Canio as Sunderland manager on Oct. 8, says it is down to the team to provide the right kind of service for him.
“He has many good qualities but the one that tends to get overlooked is that he has an unbelievable shot on him -- so powerful," Poyet told the Sunderland Echo. "I still can’t believe he is only 24. He hits the ball with such power and we have to use that power to best effect. Sometimes it is hard -- it is very easy to look at a player and say: ‘Oh, he doesn’t score goals.’ But sometimes you have to look at how you play, especially if that player has scored in other teams and not in yours.”
Altidore has eight goals in his last 10 appearances for Jurgen Klinsmann’s USA squad, including a stunning hat trick against Bosnia-Herzegovina in August. “In a situation like this, I always analyze myself when I used to play,” Poyet, a former Uruguay international, said. “What worked for me as a player? Well, I needed crosses, so the worst team I played in was my national team. In my national team in the years that I played, we were a team that played through the middle -- we never played the ball out wide. No wingers. That meant we weren’t crossing and that meant I could not score. I was rubbish!”
He added: “The Uruguay team’s style did not suit my game and this is my point at Sunderland. We need to find a style and a system which plays to the strengths of our best players. If you don’t do that for Jozy, then it is going to be difficult for him to score and we will work on that.”