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Soccer-Poyet convinced he can keep Sunderland up

Reuters

* Uruguayan signs two-year deal

* Replaces Di Canio at Stadium of Light

* Judge me at the end of the season says new boss (Adds Poyet)

LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Gus Poyet is confident of preserving struggling Sunderland's Premier League status after he was appointed as the club's new manager on Tuesday.

The 45-year-old Uruguayan has replaced controversial Italian Paolo Di Canio, who was sacked last month by the bottom-of-the-table Black Cats. They have earned just one point from a possible 21 in their first seven matches of the season.

"I do believe we can get safe. I need to convince the players, I need to convince everybody to really believe in this and we start today," Poyet told reporters at his first news conference at the Stadium of Light.

"I want to make sure everybody commits to the cause."

Sunderland have had six head coaches in the last five years and Poyet said it was important to bring some stability to the club.

"That is one of my aims. I've had one job as a manager so far and I was there for four years, so that speaks for itself.

"Whenever a new manager arrives he wants to stay as long as possible, I am confident but I don't want to say now we are going to do this and do that, I want to prove it and I hope I will be sitting here smiling at the end of the season."

The former international midfielder, whose clubs included Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in England, Real Zaragosa in Spain and River Plate in Uruguay, was sacked by Championship side Brighton and Hove Albion in June for an undisclosed breach of club discipline.

Sunderland chairman Ellis Short said in a statement on the club's website (www.safc.com): "We analysed a wide range of candidates and believe that Gus's track record, experience, commitment and passion make him the right man to take us forward."

Kevin Ball took temporary charge after Di Canio's dismissal, and Sunderland beat third-tier Peterborough United in the League Cup but lost to Liverpool and Manchester United in the league while he was in charge.

ABRASIVE STYLE

Di Canio was brought in by Sunderland in March to replace Martin O'Neill when the club looked set for relegation.

Di Canio managed to keep Sunderland up but the team won only three of his 13 matches while he was there and he went after a 3-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion on Sept.21.

British media said the Sunderland players were unhappy with Di Canio's abrasive management style and public criticism of them but the Italian denied reports of a training ground bust-up following defeat to West Brom.

Poyet was an early favourite for the role, despite his acrimonious parting with Brighton, whom he led to the Championship (second tier) playoffs.

He was suspended following the playoff semi-final defeat to Crystal Palace in May, and found out he had been fired as manager while working as a pundit on live television.

Poyet appealed but Brighton upheld the decision.

He will bring Mauricio Taricco and Charlie Oatway to Sunderland as part of his backroom staff, with his first match against Swansea City on Oct. 19 followed by the always intense derby against arch-rivals Newcastle United at home the following weekend. (Reporting by Josh Reich and Mike Collett; Editing by John O'Brien and Pritha Sarkar)

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