GUS POYET’S first game in charge of Sunderland ended in a familiar outcome as the stricken Black Cats slumped to their heaviest defeat of the season.
Rock-bottom Sunderland succumbed to their sixth successive Premier League defeat in Poyet’s bow, as the visitors collapsed in a horrifying seven minute second half spell at the Liberty Stadium.
Sunderland had edged the first half in south Wales and created the best opportunity when the returning Steven Fletcher fired just wide.
But Swansea improved markedly after the break and when Phil Bardsley knocked the ball into his own net, the Black Cats tamely surrendered.
Jonathan de Guzman doubled the advantage a minute later before Wilfried Bony made it 3-0 from the penalty spot.
Chico Flores then completed the rout with another goal from a corner - the sixth time Sunderland have conceded from a set piece this season.
Phil Bardsley returned to the Sunderland starting XI to make his first appearance since May after being ostrascised by Poyet’s predecessor Paolo Di Canio.
Bardsley was one of three changes to the side, with Steven Fletcher recovering from his shoulder injury to take the place of Jozy Altidore up front, while Seb Larsson replaced the ineligible Ki Sung-Yeung.
Summer signing Andrea Dossena was included on the bench for the first time since arriving on a one-year deal from Napoli.
Swansea boss Michael Laudrup made two changes from the side which lost 2-0 at Southampton in their last outing, with Leon Britton and Jonathan de Guzman replacing Jonjo Shelvey and Jose Canas in midfield.
The returning Fletcher went desperately close to handing Sunderland the lead in the 13th minute from a low Adam Johnson corner from the left.
Fletcher had got free from the Swansea defenders and met the ball on the half-volley 10 yards out, but his left-footed effort was inches wide of the near post.
Swansea produced their first meaningful effort on goal in the 32nd minute when de Guzman let fly with a curling right-footed free-kick from 25 yards which just drifted wide.
Angel Rangel tried his luck with angled right-footed drive three minutes later, but it was comfortable for Keiren Westwood who gathered low to his right.
Chico saw a shot blocked by team-mate Wilfried Bony two minutes before the interval after a scramble from Leon Britton’s free-kick from the right.
HALF-TIME Swansea 0 Sunderland 0
Bardsley had a sight of goal within two minutes of the re-start when Emanuele Giaccherini blasted a cross come shot into the six-yard box which took a couple of deflections.
It came through to Bardsley on the far post, but he was off-balance and could only scoop his effort over the bar.
Swansea upped their tempo in the exchanges that followed and went close in the 52nd minute when Wayne Routledge dinked a ball over the top which was glanced on by Bony for the onrushing Michu.
The Spaniard connected with a rasping left-footed volley down the left-hand side of the area, but sliced his effort high and wide of the near post.
Swansea had another inviting opportunity three minutes later when Rangel delivered a low cross from the right which Bony fired high over the bar from six yards.
Westwood was then forced into a smart save to deny Dyer after the winger let fly with a low drive from 25 yards which was pushed around the post by the Sunderland keeper.
The breakthrough came from the resulting corner when de Guzman’s delivery was glanced on at the near post by Rangel and sent into his own net by Bardsley.
Swansea made it two in two minutes when they doubled their advantage in the 58th minute as de Guzman collected the ball 25 yards out and curled a sublime right-footed shot into the top corner.
Sunderland should have pulled one back immediately when Lee Cattermole found substitute Fabio Borini with a well-weighted ball over the top.
Borini had got away from the Swansea back-line, but with Michel Vorm rushing out of his goal, the Italian could only slice his shot handsomely over the top.
Westwood produced a jaw-dropping save to deny Swansea a third in the 63rd minute when he tipped Dyer’s thumping volley behind.
But the reprieve was only temporary as Craig Gardner conceded an utterly needless penalty when he tripped Britton down the left-hand side of the area.
Bony stepped up and sent the ball into the corner to Westwood’s right.
With 10 minutes to go, Westwood produced another fine save when he tipped Michu’s powerful 15-yard header from Neil Taylor’s cross behind.
From the resulting corner, Swansea added a fourth when Chico Flores met de Guzman’s centre with a header from six yards which deflected in off Fletcher.
FULL-TIME Swansea 4 Sunderland 0
SWANSEA: Vorm, Rangel, Amat, Chico, Davies (Taylor 51), Dyer, de Guzman, Britton, Routledge (Pozuelo 81), Michu, Bony (Vazquez 75). Subs not used: Tremmel, Shelvey, Tiendalli, Canas. Booked: Chico (45)
SUNDERLAND: Westwood, Celustka, O’Shea, Roberge, Bardsley, Johnson (Borini 61), Cattermole, Larsson, Gardner, Giaccherini (Colback 61), Fletcher (Altidore 82). Subs not used: Mannone, Dossena, Vaughan, Cuellar. Booked: Bardsley (10), Roberge (43)
* Don’t miss tomorrow’s value-for-money Football Echo, for reaction from Poyet and Swansea boss Michael Laudrup, as well as Chris Young’s Verdict.