THE main talking point before the cup game got underway at the weekend was Gus Poyet’s decision to make half-a-dozen changes from the team which did so well at Wembley.
It has brought a lot of flak the way of the Sunderland boss from the fans for possibly the first time since he arrived at the club.
And you can understand why.
Supporters paid hard-earned money to follow their team to Humberside after Wembley week only to see such a weakened team.
I come from an era where there wasn’t much attention paid to squad rotation – if you played well, you stayed in the side.
Now I understand that times have changed etc etc, but I still feel you change a side playing well at your peril.
Maybe two or three changes could have been made. Maybe half-a-dozen was too many.
The flip side is though that Gus made nine changes in the last round – against Southampton – and saw his team emerge victorious.
There was no inquest that day and everyone was talking about how well the squad players had played.
It’s always the result in these cases which define the response – if the team wins, nothing is said; if it loses, the manager finds himself in the firing line.
What I will say is this though – even if the manager chooses the wrong team, it’s up to the players to do their absolute utmost to make it work.
Poyet handed a big opportunity to a lot of players at the weekend and they blew up, they didn’t turn up.
I struggle to think of anyone who had a good game and that says just as much about the players as it does about the team selection.