PHIL BARDSLEY admits everyone in the Sunderland dressing room knew they had been “way below par” after their Hawthorns rout.
Sunderland crashed to only their fourth loss under Martin O’Neill on Saturday, but it was the manner of the 4-0 defeat to West Brom which took players, supporters and manager aback.
Full-back Bardsley, a doubt for Scotland’s friendly in Slovenia on Wednesday due to a calf injury, says Sunderland’s players were well aware of how bad they were in the Black Country.
And the 26-year-old knows there can be no repeat next weekend when Sunderland head to the Sports Direct Arena looking to close the gap on neighbours Newcastle United.
Bardsley said: “We all know in ourselves what we did wrong.
“We did not see it coming. The dressing room is a different sort of place to what it has been.
“We have to dust ourselves down and go again for a massive game next week.
“I just hope it never happens again because that was just not good enough.
“Every one of us was way below par and we are honest enough to admit that.
“We want to finish in the top half of the table. It is a big challenge for us and hopefully, days like that will not come around too often.
“It is up to us to put it right. We had a few chances, but we were that bad.
“We made bad decisions. Everything which could go wrong did go wrong.”
West Brom could easily have won by a more handsome margin than the eventual 4-0 triumph as they recorded a first home success since November.
Peter Odemwingie’s brace, together with goals from James Morrison and Keith Andrews, were just rewards for a dominant display from Roy Hodgson’s side.
Bardsley added: “It was a reality check. We didn’t turn up and we didn’t have a go. We were beaten early doors, which is not good enough.
“We gave the ball away and we were sloppy all over the pitch. We were second-best to everything.
“We tried to have a go in the second half and we were done on the sucker.
“We never established ourselves in the game. We gave the ball away, we were sloppy all over the pitch.
“We did not get to stop crosses. Every header, every second challenge, they won.
“We are not like that, we are a dogged team and on Saturday we were second best to everything.
“I really do not know how that happens.”