GUS Poyet says Sunderland will look to give a good account of themselves in the Capital One Cup final against goal kings Manchester City.
But he insists that if the Black Cats had gone out of the competition last night to the Blues’ Manchester rivals, he would have left Old Trafford with his head held high.
“I was proud of my players, even if we had gone out 1-0 after extra time, because I felt this was my team all night,” said the Uruguayan.
“They tried to pass it around, they took risks.
“They kept on going and going and going and credit to the players for getting that extra little bit out of themselves.
“After they conceded a goal, they showed great character and they looked very confident even at the final whistle.
“They were all saying ‘sorry gaffer, sorry gaffer, sorry gaffer’ at the final whistle because they felt they had let themselves down.
“But they still had confidence.
“In the penalty shoot-out, the players were arguing for the ball – Ki and Phil Bardsley – over who would take the next one, and that was great.
“Often in penalty shoot-outs no-one wants the ball, but my players were keen, which was wonderful.”
Within minutes of humbling one Manchester giant, though, he was being asked about the prospects of beating another – free-scoring City, at Wembley on Sunday, March 2.
“We need to have a good day in the final – we need to be brave, we need to be fit – and we need Man City not to have a great day,” he said.
“But that is for another day, right now we have to enjoy this moment just as much as we can.
“At Sunderland, we have a group of players and a group of fans who have been having a very difficult season, and for us, for them, this was an absolutely fantastic night.”