Sunderland boss to ponder mental strength after Swansea City defeat

Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup (L) shakes hands with Sunderland manager Gus Poyet before the match
Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup (L) shakes hands with Sunderland manager Gus Poyet before the match
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GUS Poyet told his players ahead of the Swansea game that if they fell behind they had to be mentally strong and not let it affect their game

Unfortunately he got exactly the opposite response after Phil Bardsley’s own goal just before the hour, and it is that fact which will occupy some of his thoughts this week.

“I’m not going to say names, but some of the players reacted in a good way after the first goal and others reacted in a different way,” he said.

“Some people stopped trying to do things, others started trying to do too much - and you shouldn’t change that way.

“If you believe in what you are doing, you do the same, no matter what the result.

“You do it constantly, every single ball - but it wasn’t like that in the second half.”

Poyet felt that the hesitation in those moments proved fatal.

“It is true that the game completely changed when we conceded two goals in five minutes,” he said.

“But even at 2-0 down we were still in the game and if Fabio Borini had scored we were right back in it.

“All of a sudden, Swansea would have been on the back foot, we start believing, and things change.

“But it stayed 2-0, we conceded a bad third goal – the penalty – when there was no danger and then another set-piece.

“I don’t want to talk about individual goals, but it is clear that the performance in the second half was completely different to what we saw in the first half.

“We were organised and patient in the first half, and we were in a position where if we nicked the ball we could break.

“At half-time I said let’s get a bit more about the ball, and maybe we can win this game.

“Did we do that? No.

“In fact we did exactly the opposite - I couldn’t believe how different we were from the way I had asked us to be.”