Football - Poyet makes case for defence

Gus Poyet is hoping continuity at the back can establish a platform for Sunderland to maintain their bid for safety.

PA Sport Report

The Black Cats kept a first Barclays Premier League clean sheet of the season in Sunday's much-needed 1-0 victory over Manchester City.

Ondrej Celustka, John O'Shea, Wes Brown and goalscorer Phil Bardsley were the men who lined up in front of goalkeeper Vito Mannone in the latest defensive unit to take the field this season, and Poyet is hoping they can develop together.

He said: "My idea at the beginning was to try to get a consistency of playing most of the time the same defensive unit, but either for injuries or sendings-off, I haven't been able to do it.

"We are trying to find that and we hope in the next three or four games, we can play the same."

Mannone kept his place for the City game after getting the nod ahead of the injured Keiren Westwood for the Capital One Cup victory over Southampton, while full-back Andrea Dossena served the second leg of a three-match ban following his dismissal at Hull.

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