GUS POYET admits he is at a loss to explain Sunderland’s self-destructive streak.
Sunderland’s hopes of building some healthy breathing space with the relegation zone came to a crushing halt last night, as the Black Cats became the first Premier League this side to suffer a home defeat to managerless QPR.
Poyet’s men had appeared to be entering calmer waters in their three previous games after putting four points on the board and progressing into the FA Cup fifth round.
But Sunderland followed a pattern which has dogged them long before Poyet’s reign, by taking a backwards step, as the gap with the relegation zone narrowed to two points.
Poyet admitted: “Typical us. When we are in a good situation, we always make a step back, so it’s something we need to correct because it is happening too many times.
“It happened last year – I am talking only about my time here – and it’s happened again this year.
“Every time we do something all right, the next step is worse.
“If I knew (why) I would change it. If I knew, I would know what to do next time.
“The problem is that nobody knows.
“If you change six players and you lose, it’s because you changed six players. If you play the same team that played last weekend, it’s because you played the same team.
“I keep looking, I keep trying to find (a solution). The players are trying – you could not ask for more. The second half was as much effort as I have ever seen on this pitch.”
After a particularly abject opening 30 minutes, Sunderland were booed off at the interval when the hosts found themselves two goals down, with the players again coming in for stick at the final whistle.
There was a response – and some urgency – from the players in the second half, which raised the noise levels of the crowd, yet Poyet again appeared to be frustrated with supporters.
On the second half, Poyet said: “I don’t know if it’s football – I’m sorry about that – I don’t define that as football.
“I define that as a desperate team running about just trying to be nice with the fans.
“But, apart from that, you cannot ask them to pass the ball because nobody wants to pass the ball here.
“Everybody wants the players to play forward and to get rebounds and to get corners – it’s more important to get a corner than to make a pass.
“Me, I learned playing football that if you give it to your team-mate and you give an angle and you move the ball forward, you have got a better chance than if you kick it forward to somebody else and maybe you get something from it.
“We need to change. I think it’s time to sit down, everybody, reflect on football, listen, learn and then maybe we can make a bigger step forward.
“If we keep trying to sort out problems just asking the team to do things we are not capable of doing, then we are going to have this situation for years, with me, without me, with the next manager and with the next five managers.
“It’s time. I’d like to be the one to change things, but I cannot see if happening in a short period of time.”