IT felt like a case of reality bites for Gus Poyet as it came home to him at the weekend that the Sunderland squad he inherited might just not be good enough after all to survive this season in the Premier League, writes GRAEME ANDERSON.
The Uruguayan has suggested previously that Sunderland are no worse than any of the sides filling the bottom half dozen places in the league.
But he was crushed by the way his team continually shot itself in the foot in the second half against Spurs in Saturday night’s 2-1 defeat.
And his assessment was bleak in an after-match Press conference which, at times, verged on the confessional.
“I don’t know what to say – I’m running out of words,” he sighed.
“I’m trying to be as honest as I can, but sometimes it doesn’t matter.
“I hate losing. I hate it – it hurts.
“And we have lost too many in the last few weeks.
“People ask if we have been unlucky with the own goals?
“An own goal – one or two, even three can be bad luck. But five? No.
“I believe in coincidence once or twice, but five? No.
“Somehow there’s always something with us.
“Who is going to be next?
“Tell me so that I won’t play him next week!”
Nor was Poyet prepared to hang his hopes on the injustice perpetrated against Sunderland in the second half of the game when Lancashire referee Lee Mason missed just about as clear a penalty as you’ll ever see, when Sandro handled the ball.
“Rightly or wrongly – I won’t complain we didn’t get a penalty and therefore a point,” Poyet said. “That would be rubbish.
“The way we are playing at the moment, we probably would have missed the penalty anyway!
“But even if we had scored, I would not have bet against Spurs getting two or three.
“If Spurs had come up here full of confidence they would have won 5-1 and then you become worse as a side.
“We will not stay up if we play like we did in the second half against Spurs.
“We must be better than that.
“Look, I’m a head coach – I’m realistic.
“I do what I do and it has been working in some aspects.
“But we cannot maintain this run of results. We have to concentrate all the way through games, not just spells.
“We have to make good decisions in games.”