Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has written an open letter to the club’s fans calling for unity as they battle to stay in the Premier League.
Poyet’s side are two points above the relegation zone and went out of the FA Cup to Bradford City last Sunday.
He said in January that Sunderland’s fans were
of damaging the club.
“I invite all of you to stay positive,” Poyet wrote, in a letter released by Sunderland.
Former Chelsea, Tottenham and Uruguay midfielder Poyet took charge of the Black Cats in October 2013 with the club bottom of the Premier League.
He guided them to four victories and a draw from their final six league games to keep them up last season – a run that included wins at Chelsea and Manchester United and a draw at Manchester City.
But they have won only four out of 25 Premier League matches this season, and has received heavy criticism from fans.
The manager upset many supporters after a 0-0 FA Cup fourth-round draw at home to Fulham on 24 January by claiming that they were intent on a return to the ‘kick and rush’ style under former manager Peter Reid, who recorded seventh-place top-flight finishes in 2000 and 2001.
But in his letter, Poyet wrote: “During my career as a player, coach or manager, I have always had a fantastic relationship with the fans.
“From my time in Uruguay, going through every team in Europe, always the relationship was strong, one of mutual respect and understanding.
“I showed from inside or from outside the pitch, my commitment, passion and dedication in achieving what every club deserved.
“Of course, I went through good and bad times, successful and not so good ones, winning or losing finals, but I left every single club having a recognition from the fans for my honesty, passion and professional work.
“So let’s make sure that we don’t let anyone to break our relationship. I promise you that I care and want to win as much as you do and no one thinks more time every day about the team than I do.
“So I invite all of you to stay positive, to be strong, closer to each other and keep believing in what we started together last year, working harder to make it better this season.
“To finish I would like to clarify once more: the responsibility of the results of our team is down to me, I always said it and I will always accept my responsibility.”