GUS Poyet has warned his players if they start Wednesday night’s cup tie against Manchester United in the same way they started against Southampton on Saturday, they can forget any hopes of Wembley, writes GRAEME ANDERSON.
The Black Cats’ boss watched in disbelief as his side failed to launch against the Saints for the first half-hour of a game in which Sunderland could easily have been swept away at the Stadium of Light.
And afterwards he pointed out: “If we go to United and play the first 30 minutes like we did against Southampton, then we’re out – that is for sure.
“We have to make better decisions and I include myself in that too. I have to pick the right team and the team has to make the right decisions as well.”
Poyet promised to spend the weekend poring over every frame of that frightening half-hour to discover just what went wrong – which was, of course, just about everything.
“Nothing worked for us in the beginning,” he conceded. “Not one bit.
“No organisation, no system, no quality on the ball, no understanding of the game, no 50-50s, no second balls, nothing.
Despite his disappointment though, Poyet felt he could only take comfort from the fact that Sunderland did not crumble under the weight of their own ineptitude.
And he was grateful for a point, which might prove to be a very important one for Sunderland in the long run.
“When you don’t play well but get a point, it’s a good sign,” he said. We did something special after a poor start.
“We came back from two goals down and not many teams do that in the Premier League, and not many against a side of Southampton’s quality.
“So I say let’s put the negatives to one side and take the positives – it’s great that we have kept some momentum.
“A team at the top of the table would take a run of one defeat in 10, so we have to be happy with that, as a team at the bottom.
“We got a point, so let’s be happy, and let’s go to Man United for the cup semi-final in a better frame of mind.”