GUS Poyet suggested he could count on the fingers of one hand the Sunderland players who did not let themselves down badly at the Emirates.
And that could be great news for the fringe first-team players hoping to push themselves forward ahead of this weekend’s Wembley Capital One Cup final.
“No-one put themselves in the team for next week,” he insisted. “I accept Jack Colback put himself about, tackling and closing down everywhere, and Fabio Borini worked hard going forward but we needed more.”
Emanuele Giaccherini, Seb Larsson and Ignacio Scocco helped pep up Sunderland when they came on in the second-half and Poyet acknowledged: “I say sorry to the substitutes because they wanted to impress - credit to them they gave us something extra.
“But we started the game so slowly and I don’t really have an explanation for that.
“When you play against teams that are good in possession, like Arsenal, you have to press and press high up the pitch because otherwise they will push you into a position where they push you back, back until they have you.
“You need to read the game, you need to mark, to be disciplined, blah, blah, blah but unless you do these things, you are lost.
““We could go on for ages about what we should have done but there were plenty of things that we did not do well.
“We need to be effective - we weren’t at Arsenal - so now we are going to have to start from zero.
“Sometimes the team can play so well that the players pick themselves and on this occasion, they did not - I would like to think the players weren’t saving themselves for the cup final.
“Now I have options.
“Now I have to look at players who were pushing to get into the team.
“There are a lot of similarities between Man City and Arsenal - they are not identical, but similar - so after what we’ve experienced at Arsenal, we must look to work out how we might do better against a similar side; against Man City.”