Sunderland were brought back down to earth as they suffered their usual derby hangover with a heavy defeat at Everton.
Going forward, Sunderland were as good as they’ve been all season – scoring two and hitting the woodwork twice – but unfortunately, they forgot how to defend and Everton punished us ruthlessly.
Losing both first-choice centre-backs, John O’Shea and Younes Kaboul, to injury was a huge blow, but that can’t be used as an excuse for what was at times shambolic defending.
Sunderland were the better team in the early stages, but couldn’t get their noses in front and it looked like Everton would go in at the interval with a two-goal cushion, until Jermain Defoe provided a lifeline on the stroke of half-time.
Then when Steven Fletcher equalised, the game was in the balance, with all the momentum in Sunderland’s favour.
But inexplicably from there, they lost the plot.
It’s easy with hindsight, I suppose, but instead of shutting up shop and making life difficult for Everton, we played right into their hands by naively throwing men forwards and the Toffees picked us off on the counter-attack.
No wonder Sam Allardyce was livid afterwards.
Defensively, that was as far away from an Allardyce team as you can get and I’m sure he’ll get the message over to his players in training this week that a repeat won’t be tolerated.
At the other end of the pitch, Fletcher and the recalled Defoe got on the scoresheet, while substitute Duncan Watmore should have scored when one-on-one with Tim Howard. In fact, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say Sunderland could easily have found the net four or five times.
But it was the lack of discipline at the back which cost Sunderland dear.
They got themselves back in the game, then threw it all away, and after conceding just one goal in his first two games, Sunderland’s new boss got a reality check on the magnitude of his job as the team capitulated.