Sunderland manager Gus Poyet says his side need to improve in order to survive in the Premier League

Gus Poyet saw his Sunderland side lose in his first game in charge. Photo: PA

Gus Poyet has told his rock-bottom Sunderland side they need to start winning games immediately, starting with Sunday's Tyne-Wear derby.

Poyet endured a tough baptism as Black Cats boss after they were thumped 4-0 at Swansea on Saturday, conceding three of those goals in just seven second-half minutes.

The Wearsiders remain firmly rooted to the foot of the table with just one point from their first eight games, equalling the worst start ever made to a Premier League campaign.

Poyet was deeply unimpressed with the manner in which his side capitulated at the Liberty Stadium, and now they face a crunch clash with local rivals Newcastle at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.

The Uruguayan did not want to build-up the the significance of the battle for local bragging rights, but acknowledged his side's pressing need for a first three-point haul of the campaign makes it a "great opportunity".

Poyet controversially selected Phil Bardsley Credit: PA

"On one side, we have time," said the former Brighton manager.

"But I don't want to go to the other side and say this game is a final.

"But at the end of the day, it's about winning a football game, and it needs to be now.

"We say in Spain, 'Yesterday and not even tomorrow. Now'. So then we go from there.

"It's a great opportunity. Can we do it? I believe we can, and we are going to work so hard this week to make sure that it is possible."

The alarming manner of the defeat in south Wales appeared to ram home the scale of the task facing Poyet after taking over from Paolo Di Canio.

But he insists he was already fully aware of what he was getting into when he took the job, although he warned supporters it may take time for his influence to be felt.

"I knew what the task was. I know, with my knowledge, what we need to work on," he said.

"But I don't know how quickly it will work. I can't tell people it will work in five days or a month.

"I hope it works really quickly. We cannot lose many more times.

"From my side it's great to have a long week before playing Newcastle.

"Monday to Saturday with the game on the Sunday gives me enough time to work on the pitch with the players, every day."

Sunderland are used to getting beat now. Credit: PA

But Poyet made it clear he had been disappointed in how some of his players reacted to going behind against Swansea.

"I'm not going to say names, but there were players who reacted in a good way to the first goal and players who reacted in a different way.

"Things changed. People stopped doing things or people tried to do too much.

"That's something you shouldn't change. If you believe in what you are doing then you do the same.

"You keep playing and believing. You do it constantly. Every day.

"I used to say, 'Every single ball every day is important'. It wasn't like that in the second half. It's a very good learning situation for me."

He added: "It's about Saturday at 3pm. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what people talk about, what I say or what I think. It's about Saturday at 3pm for 90 minutes and that is the only thing we need to put right."