UNDER-FIRE Gus Poyet insists three points against West Brom is the only way for Sunderland to make amends for their FA Cup humiliation.
Poyet was on the receiving end of stick from the away end in the closing stages at Valley Parade yesterday after Sunderland exited the FA Cup with a whimper, as League One Bradford City deservedly booked their place in the quarter-finals.
Sunderland supporters have not taken well to Poyet’s post-match comments after last week’s defeat to travel sick QPR, although the head coach blamed the press, following the abject display at Bradford, for kicking up a storm by misinterpreting his remarks.
But the Uruguayan is well aware of the damage from back-to-back defeats and knows Sunderland need to banish the dark clouds when the rejuvenated Baggies visit the Stadium of Light next Saturday.
When asked how Sunderland bounce back from cup elimination, Poyet said: “Winning. The rest is all newspapers and people talking.
“Winning on Saturday. I’m clear. We played in a great cup-tie, full stadium, two great sets of fans.
“We tried our best. Bradford took their chances. We lost. Nobody is going to die tomorrow.
“The players tried their best. Nothing else.”
Poyet’s players equally received short shrift from the travelling supporters at the final whistle, but there was no criticism from the head coach for his charges.
He believes Sunderland showed enough desire, but Bradford simply adapted to the awful pitch better and profited from the chances they created.
Rightly, Poyet also pointed to another bungling decision from referee Kevin Friend – who notably failed to award spot-kicks against Southampton and Hull earlier this decision - for his inability to penalise a blatant foul on Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher.
“Yes, I think my players were ready for it,” said Poyet.
“I saw people taking more elbows in the face than ever and they were not afraid to go into the next one and jump.
“People went for the 50-50s and tried, everyone to their own ability.
“When we play this way, they’re going to give their best, but it’s going to be tough because the qualities of certain players in certain conditions become not as good as they should be.
“But that’s part of the game and part of the situation we had.
“I wanted a good performance in terms of desire, trying to put themselves about, and then taking a opportunity.
“I don’t think you need to hide behind anything apart from accepting that Bradford did a couple of things better than us and the referee didn’t give what everybody saw was a clear penalty and red card.
“Those decisions and key moments can make the game go one way or the other.
“The players tried their best. I don’t have any regrets or complaints about how the players approached the game and played it.
“All the best to Bradford in the next round.”