Gus Poyet supports Jozy Altidore as Sunderland striker seeks goals

The American forward hasn't been on target very often since moving to the Premier League from AZ, but he and his manager both feel goals should come soon.
Jozy Altidore moved to Sunderland this summer for $13 million. After the season and summer of his career, scoring 31 goals in all competitions for AZ and smashing through opponents for the U.S. national team, the Black Cats were hoping the American striker would light up the scoreboard at the Stadium of Light.

Now, with the first month of the new year behind us, Altidore has just one Premier League goal. The contrast between the Eredivisie and the Premier League has been stark for the striker.

"I’m trying my best. The one thing I’m learning more and more, even though I was in the Premier League before, is that English football is all about desire and fighting. That’s one thing which is different because in Holland, the whole team is designed to play for you, to look for you always," he told the Sunderland Echo. “In England, it’s not so much like that. You have guys like Phil Bardsley who can take a shot from distance or guys who can score on their own.

“You have to get used to helping the team in other ways, and I’m getting used to doing that.”

His manager, Gus Poyet, is pleased with his progress helping the team and praised the forward's hold-up play and passing after the team's 3-0 defeat of rival Newcastle United, in which Altidore chipped a ball on to spring the attack which led to a second goal.

"It's difficult, because I know strikers. I played with a lot of strikers who were top scorers, and when they didn't score for a while, they would not pass the ball to you - they would shoot from anywhere because they wanted to score," Poyet told the Mirror. "He is not doing that, which is great and a credit to him.

"Somehow, we need to try to get him a goal. Maybe we need to beat the keeper and give it to him to tap in."

Like most strikers, Altidore would love the opportunity to hit a goal that might boost his confidence and lead to a scoring streak, especially with the World Cup approaching this summer. Even with his slump, however, American manager Jurgen Klinsmann made clear Saturday after the national team won a 2-0 friendly against Korea that Altidore is plan A.

"To be clear there, I think Jozy, he is keeping his playing rhythm. The quality that he has, (he) is our number one center forward that we have," Klinsmann said at a news conference after the match, noting that Altidore and current Fulham loanee Clint Dempsey form the attacking portion of what he sees as the spine of the team.

He had an excellent opportunity to kill off Saturday's match, but Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul was able to make the save in a one-on-one situation, a missed opportunity Altidore rued.

“Thinking about it now, I should have taken a touch and shot because he came out so quick,” Altidore said. “I’m over-thinking things at the moment, but guys are chipping in with goals. That takes the pressure off, but I would like to get back in the goals definitely.”

His next chance will come Hull City visits Sunderland on Saturday at 10 a.m. Eastern. 

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