SUNDERLAND’S players must draw strength and self-belief from the way their nine men stopped full strength Hull City from scoring for an entire half at the weekend, says Gus Poyet.
A bad day at the office for the Black Cats saw them concede an own goal, lose their keeper to injury and pick up two red cards before the break to all but end hopes of salvaging something from the game at the interval.
But Poyet, following the 1-0 defeat, says strength must be drawn from the knowledge that, even with two players less than the opposition, they have the capacity to hold the line in the Premier League.
“We were looking for a clean sheet on the day,” he revealed. “That was the big thing we were after and we didn’t get it.
“But we got a clean sheet in the second half under a great deal of pressure and the players have to be happy with that.
“The players will take heart from knowing they were able to keep it goalless with just nine players – it was a fantastic effort in those circumstances.”
Poyet, who was spoken to by referee Andre Marriner in the first half for abusing the fourth official, should take some credit for the way he directed his players through the remainder of the game.
“I do my job,” he said. “I need to manage my players so they stay on the pitch – they didn’t on the day – so I needed to reorganise my team.
“The substitutes were ready to do what they had to do and Vito Mannone made two great saves, but I go home with a strange feeling.
“We lost and I hate it, even though in the second half we did a lot to be proud of.
“It is difficult for the players because they lost.
“But we have to convince them that if they played with the right shape and discipline they have a chance in all the games ahead.”