WEST Ham was an opportunity missed for Sunderland, said Gus Poyet.
And the Black Cats’ boss confessed to mixed emotions at the conclusion of a game in which Sunderland played well enough to win – but crucially did not.
“We have been better than a few at the bottom – but somehow it’s not enough,” he sighed.
“To be out of this equation at the bottom of the table, when you play like we did against West Ham, you need to score and you need to win.
“We had paid attention to West Ham’s injuries – sometimes you need a bit of luck and they were missing some important players, so you need to take your chances.
“It’s common-sense – no Andy Carroll, no Stewart Downing, no Kevin Nolan – this is a game you need to win because if we came and they were on the pitch it would have been much more difficult.
“I think we did enough to win it.”
There was scant consolation for him either from the knowledge that increasingly Sunderland are playing the way he wants them to.
“For the first half of the game, this was my team,” he sniffed. “My team.
“Now I need to make sure we do that week in, week out, consistently.
“There’s a couple of different feelings there for me – I’m upset we didn’t win, but, for the first time, this was a proper performance from my team.
“It’s the way I like to play football. It’s the way I’ve convinced the players.
“Of course it’s a different way, sometimes it’s not easy, especially when you’re at the bottom, to convince 25 players that you need to be brave on the ball, that it doesn’t matter where you play, if you make good angles and you move.
“If you play as you train, the pitch is so big and if you believe in our way of playing you will achieve.
“We’ve done it for 45 minutes here and there, but we haven’t played 90 minutes like we did against West Ham, having the better chances.
“West Ham is the first time we haven’t got what we deserved.”