THE lugubrious features of Manuel Pellegrini were perfectly suited for the inquest into yet another defeat at the Stadium of Light for super-rich Manchester City.
The Blues missed out on the chance to go back into the Champions League spots thanks to their fourth straight defeat on Wearside yesterday.
And the reverse brought crashing back down to earth a club that had scored 12 goals in its previous two games and appeared to have hit its straps after a stuttering start to the season.
City have now lost four Premier League away games already this season – to Cardiff, Aston Villa, Chelsea and now Sunderland.
And the Chilean manager was more doleful than normal as he surveyed another bad away day.
“My reaction to the Sunderland game is very similar to the other games that we lost away,” Pellegrini said dolefully.
“And that is that it is incredible the way we lost this game.
“I understand the way Sunderland play – they were very defensive, and that’s fine.
“But they managed to score from what was just about their only shot on goal and then they defended and we attacked, but, for all the possession we had, we just could not score.”
In the long-term, this might be a concern for City, but, for the moment, Pellegrini is putting it down to the vagaries of the game.
“I’m concerned about our away form,” he conceded. “We are losing too many points away from home.
“We have to look to improve that.
“But I have to say that we are not playing badly in these games, it just hasn’t been happening for us.
“We are an attacking side and in some of these games we just haven’t got the goals we deserved.
There was a hint of bad blood as he was asked his opinions on the controversial moments of the game – the Blues boss happy to raise them but to leave them hanging in the air.
“Sunderland played possession football to give them some minutes on the ball, but I think the goal that they scored was a very strange goal.”
A foul by Phil Bardsley on James Milner in the build-up?
“It is not my duty to analyse the referee,” he sniffed. “I will leave that to others.”
And Seb Larsson’s early and dangerous foul on Javi Garcia?
“I don’t want to talk about the controversial incidents because I think those are things for the referee to decide,” he sniffed.
But the South American could be forgiven that on such a difficult day.
After all, it was his predecessor Roberto Mancini’s habit on such occasions, to swerve the post-match Press conference altogether and send up a minion.