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Poyet: Fair play table is unfair on Black Cats

In addition to struggling to stay out of the bottom three, the Wearsiders also find themselves at the foot of the Fair Play league with 198.25 points.

Points are awarded based on six different factors: red and yellow cards, positive play, respect for opponents, respect towards the referee, behaviour of team officials and supporter behaviour.

No side has accrued more yellow cards than Sunderland, who have 85 to their name and have also scored poorly in terms of the conduct of Poyet and his backroom staff.

But Poyet said: "I don't care who's in charge of the fair play rules, but they're not fair. It's an invention. Somebody told me we were bottom, but I don't know how they give the points. I don't know if they're from Newcastle. It's so superficial.

"I've not seen anything that makes me think we're dirty so why we're bottom I don't know. I'd like someone to explain. But there would be no explanation, just words that don’t make sense. I don't accept it. I don't care what they say, it's not true.

"Maybe when I wave my arms about it's minus one. Maybe the club will have to tie my arms behind my back. How do they come up with the points? How many points is it for spitting at someone, three million?

"Yellow cards are part of the game. What about the spitting, stamping, head-butting and elbowing people in the face? Until two months ago we hadn't had a sending off, so how can we be bottom?"