It’s been a great few months for Gus Poyet. He’s led Brighton to promotion from League One and can enjoy a season in the Championship in a brand new stadium. Surely only bigger and better things are in store for the Uruguayan…
Brighton have gained promotion from League One at your first attempt. Did you expect your first full season in management to be so successful?
You need to be positive. You try to believe in what you do. We finished last season very well, and gained plenty of points, so the idea was to continue of course. The main problem was consistency and we achieved it, so I’m delighted. The problem now is what is coming next. When you win the league, to maintain that standard is quite difficult. But it’s a good challenge and I’m looking forward to the Championship.
So what will be different about it and have you had a chance to see many matches from the Championship this season?
Yeah! I’ve been watching a lot. I watch football all the time. I watch the Championship, Premiership and Spanish football. I try to watch and learn. I think in the Championship there is more quality. I think the pitches and stadiums are better, there is more pace and power, and there are better players. It’s going to be tough. So we need to reorganise and make sure we get the right players and the right team for the team to perform even better.
What did you learn working in the Premier League with Tottenham?
I think that the difference is the quality of the players. You can try and make the players do some things and they are even better than they are. They can do some individual actions, some technical actions and also the opposition counts for a lot. Footballers in England are very important people and in the Premiership they are individuals and not always easy to deal with. It was good to have the chance and we had a squad, we had players on the bench we paid £15 million for which is quite crazy really and for that money you expect the player to play week in and week out. That’s why Spurs have one of the biggest and best squads in the country because we had plenty of players who were very, very good and similar ones on the bench. It was a great experience.
Your son Diego is playing for England U-16, when he is older would you prefer he play for Uruguay or England?
It’s up to him. It’s a problem now because he started playing and Uruguay are probably not very happy and people are talking nonsense about the decision of Diego to play for England. He was born in Spain and came to England when he was 2 years old and of course whenever he goes to Uruguay it’s on holiday to see the family. If you ask him he would say he has to make a decision between Uruguay and England, but he’s even got that possibility of playing for Spain. It’s a great decision that FIFA has made, giving kids the chance to play for all the underage groups, and then they decide when they are at the most important part, the senior part.
Finally, word on a fellow Uruguayan, Luis Suarez. What do you make of the impact he’s made since joining Liverpool?
Well, I’m pleased. I’m so happy – I’m the happiest person in England, really, because I am convinced about players from Uruguay, with the mentality we have got, and the mentality that we bring to any club. One player from Uruguay is very important for any English team and I try to convince so many of my fellow countrymen to come to play in England. But sometimes it’s easier for a Uruguayan to go to Spain or Italy where they find it a little bit easier because of the language and the summer weather and things, but I’m pleased that he made that decision and I’m sure he will be even better when he gets used to the culture of Liverpool Football Club.