Poyet ready for next challenge
9:39am Thursday 29th May 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet is preparing himself for a "different" challenge after ending speculation over his future by signing a new contract.
The 46-year-old Uruguayan, who had been touted as a possible replacement for Mauricio Pochettino at Southampton, committed himself to the Black Cats until 2016 when he put pen to paper at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday evening.
Now Poyet, who kept the club in the Barclays Premier League against all odds with an astonishing finish to last season, is looking to ensure he never has to pull off another great escape.
He said: "I am delighted to extend my stay with Sunderland AFC after an unbelievable season and our famous Great Escape.
"Now it's a different challenge for me and the club and I am relishing the next stage with Sunderland.
"We achieved so much last season, working together - the club and the fans - and we took many good memories from the season.
"The prospect of creating more of those memories is one which excites me, and now I cannot wait for the next chapter in my career and the history of Sunderland AFC."
Poyet arrived on Wearside in October last year and waded into the morass left by predecessor Paolo Di Canio with the club languishing at the foot of the table with just a single point from its first seven games.
Despite extended runs in both domestic cup competitions - they reached the final of the Capital One Cup only to lose to Manchester City at Wembley - they remained in serious danger of dropping out of the top flight.
However, an unlikely sequence of results saw them take seven points from a possible nine on the road at City, Chelsea and Manchester United to claw back a seven-point deficit and eventually finish in 14th place.
In the depths of Sunderland's despair, Poyet had voiced his fears over underlying problems, and seemed less than happy with his title of head coach rather than manager.
However, having held a series of discussions with owner Ellis Short and sporting director Lee Congerton, matters appear to have been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.
The announcement of Poyet's new deal came just hours after the Black Cats confirmed the capture of out-of-contract West Brom defender Billy Jones on a four-year deal, and work is continuing behind the scenes to reshape the squad for the new season.
Congerton said: "We are naturally delighted that Gus has committed his long-term future to Sunderland.
"Our plans are well under way in terms of summer recruitment and we are working hard to bring new faces to the squad ahead of the 2014-15 season."