Crystal Palace v Sunderland: Poyet goes back to basics

Gus Poyet has called on his Sunderland side to go back to basics in their bid to return to form against Crystal Palace on Monday.

Sunderland have struggled in recent weeks, with their only win of the Premier League campaign against Stoke City followed swiftly by an 8-0 hammering at Southampton and a 2-0 reversal against Arsenal.

Their last two defeats were littered by a catalogue of defensive errors, with keeper Vito Mannone's form coming in for criticism after his mistake led to Alexis Sanchez's second goal last weekend.

Mannone's mishap followed similarly high-profile mistakes from Wes Brown and Santiago Vergini, but Poyet has acknowledged that his goalkeeping selection for Monday's trip to Selhurst Park is vital - with Costel Pantilimon potentially getting the nod.

However, the Uruguayan also called for an all-round improvement from his side, highlighting the need to cut out their errors.

"I want basics now. Go back to basics," Poyet told the Sunderland Echo. 

"That's what makes a team, when you've got basics and you do the basics all the time. We've been training hard trying to go back to basics.

"We need to make sure we defend like we did before Southampton.

"There will be times when they [Palace] are on top and we need to defend, and when we are on top, we need to score.

"Those things need to change quickly because we are down there."

With just a point separating Sunderland in 18th and Palace two places above, Monday's fixture already has the look of a meeting of two clubs who will be battling to stay in the Premier League this term.

Palace picked up just a point from their three top-flight games in October, with that draw coming after they threw away a 2-0 lead at West Brom last weekend.

And their manager Neil Warnock expects another tough game on Monday, insisting he has not read much into Sunderland's 8-0 beating at Southampton.

"Things like that do happen, they had a great result before that against Stoke so you don't kid yourself," he said.

"Things like that don't happen very often. Every game in this league is difficult to get maximum points [from].

"I think anyone's capable in this league and I think it's the closest Premier League in many, many years apart from the top two."

Poyet can welcome back striker Steven Fletcher after he recovered from an ankle knock picked up against Arsenal, although Emanuele Giaccherini (foot), Ricky Alvarez (knee), Billy Jones (hamstring) and Sebastian Coates (thigh) remain sidelined.

Warnock still has injury worries over Scott Dann (knee) and James McArthur (thigh), but both are back in training and could feature.