GUS POYET says he has learned plenty about the character of Sunderland’s players after their 8-0 mauling at Southampton.
The Black Cats today slumped to the joint-heaviest defeat in their history after a shameful capitulation on the south coast.
Poyet was stunned by the collapse, but says the manner in which Sunderland threw in the towel during the second half proved to be an ugly eye-opener.
The Sunderland boss said: “The second half showed me a lot about individuals. A lot.
“More than you think. A lot more.
“It’s very easy to see your team winning and think ‘he’s good, he’s good, he’s magnificent, he did well’.
“When you lose, and you lose like today, that’s when you see real characters on the pitch.
“It’s going to be a difficult week. The players who play next week are going to have to go out and do something about it, for sure.
“I’ve never seen one of my teams make so many mistakes.
“That’s why I use the word embarrassing because I am trying to be respectful. I am responsible.”
He added: “This was the most embarrassing time I have had on a football pitch. Without any doubt.
“I feel sorry for the supporters. I think we had created something between the team and the supporters.
“As we know, it is a long trip and they deserve better.
“I can explain something about the game until the penalty incident - after that, I have got no explanation.”
Sunderland defender Santiago Vergini opened the scoring with a comical own goal, before more defensive blundering handed Southampton a two-goal advantage.
Referee Andre Marriner then failed to award Sunderland what looked to be a clear-cut penalty - and send off Southampton stopper Fraser Forster - when he brought down Steven Fletcher.
But after Southampton added a third before half-time, Sunderland could only provide feeble resistance during the second half.
“We started well but then we conceded a goal that, even if you tried it 20 times, y0u couldn’t do it again,” said Poyet.
“The second goal, we tried to clear the ball and it hit somebody and came back, and at that point you begin to think it is not going to be your day.
“Then came the penalty incident. If the referee does his job, it’s a penalty and a red card and it might have been 2-1 and it might have been a different game.
“For sure, it would not have been 8-0!
“After that, I can’t explain what happened. I’m sorry.
“I would like the players to come and explain, maybe they have the words - I don’t.”