Gus Poyet was left bemoaning the most embarrassing moment of his football career after his Sunderland side were hammered 8-0 at Southampton.
The Uruguayan saw the Black Cats score two own goals on their way to their biggest ever Barclays Premier League defeat as a Graziano Pelle brace, as well as goals from Jack Cork, Dusan Tadic, Victor Wanyama and Sadio Mane sealed a memorable afternoon for the hosts.
For Southampton the win saw them move into third place in the table, but Poyet was in sombre mood after witnessing his team’s decimation.
“Where do I start? First, it was the most embarrassing (moment) I’ve had on a football pitch without any doubt,” he said.
“I feel sorry for the supporters. I thought we were creating something between the team and the supporters – they made a long trip and they deserved better. What I say in the dressing room stays in there.
“I use the word ’embarrassing’ because I’m trying to be respectful. This is not an easy (press) conference this one, I need to be very careful what I say. I’m responsible.
“It’s going to be a difficult week. The players who are on the pitch next week are going to do something about it.
“I don’t think I want to watch that again. Sometimes I make clips. I wouldn’t have time to make as many clips as I need. Maybe the players will watch it. Maybe it will be good therapy for them to watch themselves.”
Sunderland were denied what appeared to be a stonewall penalty when 2-0 down but, other than that they never looked like penetrating the most watertight defense in English football.
Santiago Vergini and Liam Bridcutt scored the unwitting own goals but it was that of Argentina international Vergini that will live long in the memory. The defender inexplicably fired past the hapless Vito Mannone from outside of his own box with all of the execution and aplomb of an experienced striker, leaving Poyet baffled.
“Even if you watch that 20 times you don’t know how it can happen,” he added.
“Then we clear the ball and it hits somebody and it’s 2-0. Then you’re thinking it’s not going to be our day.
“And then the penalty, where if the ref did his job, it’s a penalty and a red card and maybe 2-1 and then we’re talking about a different game. After that, I can’t explain what happened. I will let the players explain to you, maybe they will have better words. I don’t.”
For Southampton and manager Ronald Koeman, a season that many predicted would be a struggle continues to develop into something much more promising. The recently-crowned manager of the month admitted he was in shock at the scoreline but was pleased his players kept up their work ethic until the final kick.
“I’m very pleased. Still a little bit in shock,” he said.
“That 8-0 is not a normal result. I was surprised after 20 minutes about the score. 2-0 up and we didn’t start the game well. Sunderland were dominating and we had problems. Lucky by the first one, the own goal, gave us a little bit more confidence and we wake up after that.
“I’m very proud about the second half. We have 17 players out in the international break and if you show that ambition until the last second it is great. That was important. We played great football, we scored great goals and it was a great afternoon.”
Koeman well and truly destroyed the long-held myth that winning a manager of the month accolade is a bad omen for your side’s next game. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho said during the week that he was glad he missed out on the award for that very reason but Koeman jokingly praised the words of the Portuguese.
“Maybe I thank Mourinho for that, he gave my players motivation,” he added. “I’m joking of course. I like Mourinho and I look forward to playing Chelsea.”
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