WITHIN minutes of Sunderland’s 2-0 defeat to Hull City, Gus Poyet was seeking to draw a line under the result and move on.
In his view, a game where the Black Cats had been forced to play 87 minutes with 10 men could hardly be judged alongside more typical performances.
And he understood the importance of not dwelling on such a disappointment with daunting league challenges immediately ahead, away to Manchester City on Wednesday followed by trips to Arsenal and Liverpool.
“Everything was set up for a great afternoon’s football against Hull, and after three minutes it became very difficult,” he sighed.
“Normally in these games they are very tight, and there’s not much in it even if you are the better team.
“But this wasn’t a normal game, so I’m not going to kill myself analysing the game – we were down to 10 men with three minutes gone, so you know it is going to be difficult.
“I think we can erase the afternoon from our memory.
“We have to make sure this doesn’t affect our confidence in terms of what we were doing before.”
Sunderland had already gone into the match as the worst offenders for sendings off in the Premier League this season, a status they enhanced when Wes Brown was sent-off for the third time this season – although one of the defenders’ red cards was rescinded on appeal.
Poyet though – who confirmed Sunderland would not be appealing Brown’s latest red – bristled at suggestions his team play the game in an unsporting way.
“The red cards? When you tackle and you’re the last man, it is always a risk,” he shrugged. “I’ve got no trouble with it.
“It doesn’t mean we are a dirty team – people should not look for something that is not there.
“Wes made a decision to tackle in a difficult situation and he mis-timed it, and it was a red, that was all.”
Sunderland going down to 10 men, and the early withdrawal of Fabio Borini nullified their attacking threat, and largely beached Adam Johnson, who had hoped to shine in front of watching England boss Roy Hodgson.
But Poyet says the January Player of the Month should not despair: “I’m sure Roy Hodgson knows a lot about football, and knows Adam Johnson had to be shifted into a different position for the sake of the team,” he said.
“Adam is a top player and he proved that last month, he will get every chance to prove himself again.”