Sunderland’s Vergini’s 6,000 mile trip no excuse for shocker at Southampton

Sunderland's Steven Fletcher (right) and Adam Johnson wait to restart after another Southampton goal
Sunderland's Steven Fletcher (right) and Adam Johnson wait to restart after another Southampton goal

SANTIAGO VERGINI’S 6,000 mile journey back from the North East was no excuse for the Argentine international’s miserable afternoon at Southampton, says Gus Poyet.

Defender Vergini set the ball rolling at St Mary’s on Saturday after scoring a spectacular own goal to break the deadlock.

The 26-year-old had featured for Argentina in a 7-0 win in Hong Kong on Tuesday, but with only four fit defenders available to Poyet, the Sunderland boss had little choice than to keep him in the starting XI.

But while Poyet didn’t single Vergini out when asked about the on-loan defender, he admitted nothing could be used as mitigation for the depths of Sunderland’s display in the 8-0 mauling.

Poyet said: “I don’t use excuses. I hate excuses.

“When you are on the pitch it’s not like in golf, where you play on your own. It’s a team thing.

“We need to do things together. When you are on the pitch you need to react together, to defend together, to have pace.

“At 4-0 or 5-0 down it’s not easy but there is no place to hide.”

Prior to Vergini’s comical opener, Sunderland had actually started the game brightly, before gifting Southampton the first two goals through defensive blunders.

Even at 2-0 down, Sunderland were left aggrieved after referee Andre Marriner’s failure to awarded the visitors a penalty and send off Saints stopper Fraser Forster when he clearly brought down Steven Fletcher.

But after Southampton grabbed a third goal before half-time, Poyet was aghast at how his side collapsed in the second half.

“We started very well and I thought we surprised Southampton a little bit,” added Poyet.

“We were on the front foot.

“Then the first goal was from another planet. The second was a little unlucky.

“Then the penalty – oh my God. When that happened I thought it was not going to be our day, but not as bad as this. It was worse.

“It hurts because I hate losing 1-0. Imagine eight.

“I feel sorry for the supporters. I think we had created something between the team and the supporters.

“As we know, it is a long trip and they deserve better.”