New manager Gus Poyet was given a stark lesson about the task he is facing at Sunderland after a 4-0 defeat at Swansea City.
After a steadfast defensive display in the opening 45 minutes, Phil Bardsley’s own goal was soon followed by a wonderful Jonathan de Guzman finish and a Wilfried Bony penalty after the break in a nightmare seven minutes for the visitors.
Chico Flores’ header was diverted into his own net by Steven Fletcher for a fourth, and Poyet admitted that he had been given an insight into just what he has taken on, particularly following a sluggish second-half display.
“We thought that we talked enough with the players that have been here for the last two weeks about what’s been happening, especially in the second-half performances,” he said.
“There are things that you can train and there are things that you need to talk about and cannot recreate, but it’s happened again.
“The first-half performance was alright, but the second half was dramatically different and, at this level, when you play against a team that has been playing one kind of football for so long and believe in what they do , it’s not going to be easy.
“I learned a lot from my players and I learned a lot in the second half.”
The former Brighton and Hove Albion boss admitted that he was satisfied by the team’s first-half display, but was left puzzled by their collapse in the second period.
“The rest of the game I was very pleased because we’ve been trying to be organised, difficult to beat, and not allow the opposition to create anything,” he continued. “But then we go into the second half and do completely the opposite. It’s so opposite that it’s even difficult to explain.
“We need to turn that performance (the first half) into 90 minutes as soon as possible, because time goes past and games pass by and we’re still at the bottom.
“We can’t keep saying ‘When you’re at the bottom, things go against you’. You need to make sure that you take responsibility and become better.
“We need to make sure that we maintain the level of concentration for the whole game. At the end of the day, it’s about being strong mentally on the pitch.”