WES BROWN says referee Andre Marriner’s failure to award Sunderland a stonewall penalty at Southampton was no excuse for the Black Cats’ feeble collapse.
Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher was clearly brought down by Saints keeper Fraser Forster 10 minutes before the interval of Saturday’s clash after going clean through on goal.
But instead of sending off ex-Newcastle man Forster and handing Sunderland the chance to halve the deficit when Southampton were 2-0 up, Marriner awarded a goal kick.
Sunderland’s players were clearly incensed by the decision, yet it was no mitigation for what followed after the Black Cats waved the white flag before suffering the joint heaviest defeat in their history.
Centre-half Brown said: “We didn’t manage to get the penalty and we are disappointed with that decision.
“Had that been given, it might have changed the game – he could have been sent off too. It would have been 2-1 at the time.
“But it was not good enough.
“There were not enough of us alive. To concede eight says it all really.
“There were too many of us off our game. We might have had 10 minutes, but then they got a goal, got a second goal and a third.
“We needed to come out and show some fight and we didn’t do that.”
More than 2,500 Sunderland fans had made the trip to the south coast, to take their place in a sold-out away end.
And Brown, withdrawn at half-time, admits there was a sense of shame at the performance Sunderland produced for that following.
“The supporters are always fantastic, wherever we are and we are gutted,” added the 35-year-old.
“We are very disappointed with the performance we have put in for them.
“It has to be a one-off – you can’t do that in the Premier League.
“You get punished like that if you do.
“We have to put this behind us as quickly as possible.”