Gus Poyet returns to Tottenham Hotspur on Monday night hoping his Sunderland side collect their first Premier League win since beating Newcastle United 3-0 at St James' Park on 1 February.

Since then they have lost the Capital One Cup final to Manchester City and slipped back deep into relegation trouble. "I thought that day at Newcastle that we'd clicked," said Poyet. "I was wrong. I thought that's it, yes, now everything's going to work out fine. What's happened since indicates I was wrong.

"In January we were winning so many important games and it was bringing the players together. Now we need a shock to get us going again."

Poyet has been criticised for losing momentum by fielding a weakened side in an FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Hull but be maintains he played his strongest available team.

Sunderland's manager did not like what he saw at the KC Stadium and identified flaws in individuals and their mentality previously masked by the excitement of the Capital One Cup Wembley run. "Hull confirmed many things about the team for me, it told me a lot about certain players," said Paolo Di Canio's successor. "You can have a little doubt about a player and then you see them in a game like that and you say 'Yes, I was right'."

Some Sunderland fans are concerned Poyet may leave Wearside in the summer but he is already planning for next season and beyond.

Those preparations include ways of coping with pre-season while recovering from surgery to repair a cruciate ligament. A visit to Louw van Niekerk, a leading knee surgeon, last week resulted in a diagnosis the Uruguayan dreaded. "He tells me that I need an operation, it's bad," he said. "I'm having it done in the middle of summer so I'm not going on holiday on crutches with my knee out there. Just thinking about the recovery from the operation makes me feel sick."

Poyet will feel infinitely worse should Sunderland stumble once again at Spurs.