• Manager says Nicola Cortese's exit 'will affect their players'
• Uruguayan determined to keep hold of Premier League lifeline
Gus Poyet hopes his players can capitalise on considerable turmoil at Southampton when Mauricio Pochettino's side visit Wearside on Saturday.
Sunderland moved off the bottom of the Premier League with a 4-1 win at Fulham last weekend and their manager is looking for another victory against visitors left confused and bitterly disappointed by the resignation of Southampton's executive chairman Nicola Cortese.
"Without any doubt it will affect their players," said Poyet. "If it's a mess in your club and something is not normal it will affect you. We'll see how they react but it's about how much is in their players' heads. It's not what the manager likes, I can tell you that. It's not the best thing that can happen to you."
Not that Poyet is about to underestimate Southampton's high-quality pressing game. "They have something totally new and unique," he said. "You cannot compare them with any other team in the world. They have their own system and style of play with very young players, adapting to the style very well. It was something refreshing for the Premier League which is very welcome."
Sunderland's manager is hoping to welcome Santiago Vergini, the Argentina centre-half, to Wearside soon and confirmed negotiations with Estudiantes for the 25-year-old are continuing.
One player leaving the Stadium of Light is the South Korea striker Ji Dong-won, who is moving to Germany to join Augsburg for an undisclosed fee, but Poyet will not be selling Vito Mannone – Sunderland's goalkeeper and the subject of reported interest from Manchester United – or allowing the similarly impressive on-loan midfielder Ki Sung-yueng to return to Swansea. "Ki cannot be recalled," said a manager determined his team will keep hold of their Premier League lifeline after inheriting a seemingly hopeless cause from Paolo Di Canio.
"We were very far away from every other team, everybody was looking at the table and writing us off completely," said Poyet. "But now we are there in the mix, so I would like to say that half of the job is done, but the other half is going to be as difficult as the first."
The Uruguayan believes Adam Johnson's recent renaissance is down to the new patient, possession-based passing style he is implementing. "Adam needs a team to play one way, I am convinced," said Poyet. "You can't just give him the ball and expect him to dribble past everybody every time. You don't see a player do that apart from your Messis. And [Lionel] Messi does that because he plays in a team that keeps the ball forever. They give you the chance to rest and when you get it and you are fresh, you can go past it.
"When I got here the idea was just give it to Johnno but, first, it's predictable and, second, it's very easy for the opposition to deal with."