SOMETIMES in football you produce a performance and get a result for which there are no excuses to be offered and no hard luck stories to fall back on.
Sunderland’s game against Manchester City at the weekend was just such a game.
At the end of 90 minutes in which Sunderland were well-beaten, you couldn’t look back and discuss a contentious refereeing decision or a desperately unlucky moment; you couldn’t say City were fortunate or that the game could have gone either way.
Within five minutes City were ahead and Sunderland rarely looked as though they might be able to do anything about it.
After half-time and once they found their feet, City just cruised away with it and the final scoreline could have been far worse had it not been for a few last-ditch defensive heroics, from Simon Mignolet in particular.
That’s the game in a nutshell.
Man City were clearly at the races; Sunderland were not.
And when you have games like that, you just have to lick your wounds and move on.
Sunderland’s players need to get it out of their system and put it behind them, because you can’t take it into the next game when the next games is the Wear-Tyne derby.
The one thing in our favour is that we did get beat by the Premier League champions of England on their own turf, not some middling or relegation-threatened team at the Stadium of Light.
Their players are world class and when they turn it on, they’re very hard to live with.
They will beat better teams than us, possibly by bigger margins too. Remember that this is the side which went to Old Trafford last season and drubbed Sir Alex Ferguson’s men 6-1.
I’m not ducking the issue – Sunderland did not play well at the weekend.
But at the same time it’s important to have a sense of perspective.
To read the rest of the Rowell Report, please see tonight’s Sunderland Echo.