Sunderland’s inept display in the 8-0 humbling at Southampton came out of the blue but was it a one-off or a sign of a deeper malaise at the club?
The Black Cats had only conceded seven goals in their first seven Premier League games of the season, but appeared disinterested in the second half of what manager Gus Poyet described as his most embarrassing experience in football.
Despite the humbling experience at St Mary’s Uruguayan Poyet must be kept on.
There has to be a period of stability on Wearside; after all it’s only just over 12 months since Paolo Di Canio’s crazy spell as manager came to an end.
Since Peter Reid’s tenure as boss ended in 2002, Sunderland have had nine managers and no club can expect to thrive in such an uncertain atmosphere.
Sunderland were the sixth best supported club in the Premier League last season, ahead of Chelsea, and the loyal fans deserve better. Despite Saturday’s cataclysmic result, there have been signs in the last 12 months that Poyet is the right man to revive the Black Cats.
Sell the dead wood
Jozy Altidore, Charalampos Mavrias, and Emanuele Giaccherini should all be sold in January and there could be a few other players heading for the exit doors.
Altidore may be big and strong and can hold the ball up well but strikers need to score goals and his record of one in 35 Premier League appearances is simply unacceptable.
Mavrias was one of Di Canio’s worst signings, which is saying something, and has only started one league game since his move from Panathinaikos 15 months ago.
Giaccherini flatters to deceive and has only scored four times in 27 Premier League appearances. Considering he cost £6.5million that is a distinctly under-whelming record.
Sign some defenders
Poyet has said injuries have decimated his defensive options and the 34-year-old former French international right-back Anthony Reveillere looks set to sign for the club this week.
His arrival may not solve all Sunderland’s problems but Black Cats fans will be hoping that the Southampton debacle was merely a blip.