PATRICK van Aanholt admits it will be a long fortnight’s wait for Sunderland to return to Premier League action.
Sunderland’s hopes of using a fifth successive derby victory over Newcastle as a platform to secure their top-flight status were left in tatters on Saturday after an epic 14-minute second-half collapse saw visitors Crystal Palace run riot in a 4-1 away victory.
We have to move on and get ready for Stoke nowPatrick van Aanholt
It was strongly reminiscent of the shambles in Gus Poyet’s final game in charge against Aston Villa four weeks earlier, albeit Sunderland remain three points clear of the relegation zone after defeats for fellow strugglers Burnley and QPR, who lost at the death against Chelsea yesterday.
However, Sunderland will be helpless over whether that margin with the bottom three reduces this coming weekend after the Black Cats’ trip to Arsenal was postponed because of the Gunners’ FA Cup commitments.
Sunderland are not in action again until the trip to Stoke City on April 25 and left-back van Aanholt wishes there was a chance to make amends much sooner.
Van Aanholt told the Echo: “Of course, you would like to have another game straightaway to make it right.
“But we have to move on and get ready for Stoke now.
“You have to see each game differently.
“You can’t keep it in your mind that you win the derby.
“It was like Aston Villa (on Saturday). We’ve got to move on now and focus on Stoke.”
Van Aanholt was at a loss to explain Sunderland’s collapse after a scrappy, foul-laden opening 45 minutes where neither side had really threatened.
After Glenn Murray opened the scoring early in the second half, Palace winger Yannick Bolasie then helped himself to an 11-minute hat-trick, with Sunderland’s defence utterly incapable of dealing with the pace in the visitors’ ranks.
Connor Wickham grabbed a consolation, before van Aanholt hit the bar in stoppage time, but that was far too little, too late.
“No-one knew why it happened,” added van Aanholt.
“We came out in a positive way, trying to play football.
“I think we started the game well and everyone went into it in a positive way; expecting us to get three points again and move on.
“But we’re disappointed to gift four goals in the space of 10 minutes.
“I think we were the better team in the first half, but, in the space of 10 minutes, we gave it away.
“Everyone knew that Bolasie was quick and you can’t afford to give him chances.”