PATRICK van Aanholt says Sunderland never recovered from being reduced to 10 men at Manchester United.
Sunderland began proceedings in positive fashion during Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford, with Connor Wickham going close to giving the Black Cats an early lead.
We all did our jobs in the first half, but you’ve got to do that in the second half as wellPatrick van Aanholt
At the other end, Gus Poyet’s men frustrated the hosts’ attacking efforts, with van Aanholt notably performing well in the opening 45 minutes after subduing £60million winger Angel Di Maria, who was removed at the interval.
But the game hinged on the red card shown to Wes Brown and the subsequent penalty awarded to United just after the hour mark, with Louis van Gaal’s men navigating the closing stages in cruise control, while Sunderland never remotely threatened to get back on level terms.
Van Aanholt told the Echo: “The red card killed the game.
“It’s always hard when you go down a man, but we tried our best, tried hard.
“We went there for the three points and, to be fair, we started the game very well.
“We had the chance with Connor. If we’d finished that, it’s a different game.
“The gaffer said to go there with a gameplan and we did that very well in the first half.
“We were the better team for the first 20 minutes and, after that, we kept our team shape and looked good.
“But the second half was totally different after the red card.
“We all did our jobs in the first half, but you’ve got to do that in the second half as well.
“We were still 0-0 before the penalty and were still doing well. Of course, when you’re down a man, they’re going to press you high.
“That’s what they did and got the second goal.”
While Sunderland were always an outside bet to record a Premier League win at Old Trafford for the second successive year, the Black Cats now face two encounters which are much tougher to predict.
Poyet’s side head to bogey side Hull City tomorrow night, before hosting another of the relegation contenders, when second bottom Aston Villa head to Wearside in 12 days.
“We’ve got to move on and focus on tomorrow night,” added van Aanholt, recalled to the starting XI after being left out against West Brom.
“Every game for us is big now.
“Saturday was a big one, but we’ve got to move on and look for three points.”