ANGRY Gus Poyet did not seek to defend his players after a no-show in the first-half of Saturday’s game against Norwich City at Carrow Road.
By the time Sunderland started to show signs of getting their act together, they were already 2-0 down.
And Poyet accepted that the Black Cats’ opponents – also living in the shadow of relegation at kick-off – had simply demonstrated the perfect focus as they pulled seven points clear of the third-bottom Wearsiders.
“I think it’s very disappointing when you start a game as important as this one as badly as we did,” observed the Uruguayan.
“We started badly, we were too deep, we were not getting close to any action.
“It was a mix of us being very bad on the day and Norwich being very brave.
“But you put all that together and you find yourself 1-0 down – totally deserved.”
Having gone ahead, Norwich then added a wonder goal, courtesy of Alex Tettey, just after the half-hour.
And that left Poyet appreciating the fact his players were simply struggling to find the desire and urgency needed to get back into the game.
“Their second goal – it isn’t going to happen every week – but then that left me with decisions I did not like to make: a double substitution,” he explained.
“It was a bad first half, I did not enjoy it.”
Sunderland improved after the break, but certainly not enough to threaten to overturn the two-goal deficit.
“Were enough of the players out there playing as if the future of their club and their careers depended on it?” Poyet repeated back to one interviewer.
“It’s worth asking them.
”I don’t know the answer to that, but we didn’t look that way as a team.
“We didn’t look like we were fighting for our lives in the first 30 minutes.
“Norwich were brave and everything was bouncing for them, they were picking up the second balls and then it became difficult.
“I’m just really disappointed in the first half an hour.
“That was totally unexpected.
“We needed something to go our way, but Tettey’s shot did not go our way and then Ruddy saving Wes Brown’s header did not help.
“If those things had happened differently, then we might have got something, but I can’t honestly say we deserved much from the game.”