GUS Poyet refused to make Lee Cattermole the scapegoat for Sunderland’s disappointing FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Hull City.
The Teessider was involved in pretty much everything good and bad about the Black Cats’ performance across 90 eventful minutes at the KC Stadium.
But at the final whistle it was the bad that lingered most prominently in the memory: the yellow card Hull goaded him into in the first half, which prevented him from fully lunging in to stop goalscorer David Meyler in the second; the horrendous back-pass which gifted Hull their third goal.
But Poyet clearly that the Teessider at least stood up to be counted, which was more than some of his team-mates did.
“If you hide and you’re not in the game and do nothing to take a risk?” he mused aloud. “Well, if you do that then for sure you’re not going to make any mistakes.
“That’s the bad side of football – the ones that take responsibility and the ones that care, they are the ones who are in the position to make the mistakes.
“Because Lee wants to be involved in everything, you will see him make mistakes.
“Others might not be involved so much and no-one criticises them.”
It was a game, Poyet thought, of missed opportunities for Sunderland, who failed to defend or attack in the way the South American would have hoped.
“Goals change games,” he said.
“You look at the season so far and Hull have scored many of their goals from corners and free-kicks and Curtis Davies is important to them.
“But we didn’t deal with the situation and then after we conceded a goal we conceded a second one very quickly afterwards.
“We can’t complain either because it was not as if everything Hull hit, went in.
“Even having a penalty – Hull didn’t score – so we had our chances.
“ We needed to keep the game alive but we couldn’t.”