As disastrous as the 8-0 defeat at Southampton was, at least Gus Poyet now knows which Sunderland players he can rely on.
The Black Cats slumped to one of the heaviest defeats in Premier League history at St Mary’s, when the Saints scored five second-half goals to add to the three they had registered in the opening 45 minutes. It was no surprise, then, that Poyet labelled it as the most embarrassing moment in his football career, either as a player of manager.
Whether he is able to pick his players up and restore any semblance of confidence ahead of the visit of Arsenal next week remains to be seen, although many of the players who flopped so badly on the South Coast may not get the chance to atone for their display. Because whilst there are no positives to take from such a drubbing, Poyet claims at least he now knows which players he can count on and which ones simply surrendered.
“I learned a lot about the players today,” the Uruguayan said on Sky Sports, “the bad side, the characters who stopped when they gave up and there were a few who gave up and I know who they are so it is very important for me for future. I cannot watch it again because there is not a lot to analyse. I know the players I can count on in difficult situations.”
What made the scoreline all the more remarkable is that before the match, Sunderland had one of the best defensive records in the division having conceded just seven from as many games. This defeat, though, will surely set the alarm bells ringing amongst their supporters, who now see their side sitting fourth-bottom of the table, which is likely to spark memories of last season when they fought against relegation for much of the campaign.
Was this heavy defeat a freak result for Sunderland, or a sign of things to come? Let us know what you think by joining in the discussion below.