Sunderland boss Gus Poyet says that he has now reached the point where he fully understands the strengths and weaknesses of all his players.

The Black Cats gaffer believes that his side’s recent turn around is due to this new understanding, and that Sunderland are reaping the awards of their hard work.

In a remarkable ten day period, the Mackems have reached the Capital One Cup Final, the last 16 of the FA Cup, escaped the bottom three for the first time since the opening weeks after beating Stoke, and defeated bitter derby rivals Newcastle to lift them to 14th in the table.

Speaking to the Hartlepool mail, Poyet beamed at his side’s recent progress, and says that it can only benefit the club’s bid to escape the drop.

“What is great now is that I know the players,” Poyet said.

“When I first came here, I didn’t know them. I didn’t want to say too much in the beginning, because it would have sounded like an excuse.

“People would have thought that I expected everyone to be patient for four or five months until I settled in. That wasn’t the case, but that’s what people might have thought.”

Sunderland fans will hope this form continues, as the business end of the campaign approaches and it’s clear that the Black Cats will need more inspired performances if they hope to beat the drop.

Click below to see the Capital One Cup final in style!