Sunderland’s promotion bid took a real dent as they were beaten 4-0 away at Portsmouth on Saturday.
It was a dismal day for Lee Johnson’s players as they were humbled by Portsmouth in a game where they were poor throughout.
It was dismal first half as Portsmouth ran riot, scoring three times before halftime. Marcus Harness gave Portsmouth the lead before Lee Brown doubled the advantage for Pompey.
John Marquis then made it 3-0 on the stroke of halftime before he got his second and Portsmouth’s fourth in the 61st minute.
This led to Tom Flanagan admitting Sunderland cannot repeat the horror show at Portsmouth again this season.
He told the Northern Echo: “Maybe you can say it was an off day. But if you want to get to where you want to get to as a team and a player there are no off days.
“Today is a day that is alongside only one other game that I look at in a Sunderland shirt, where I wish it could be deleted, and that would be Coventry at home.
He went on to admit that the defence also played their part in the defeat: “When you’re at the back, and you’ve had a bad game as a group – or sometimes even when you don’t have a bad game – to concede four goals everyone’s eyes are on you.
“You bear the brunt, and that’s the nature of the beast. The manager had some choice words and you’ve got to take it on the chin.
“We’ve let ourselves down today, and we’ve let the supporters down. It’s infuriating and you try not to lose your temper and do something stupid.”
It was only Sunderland’s second defeat of the season, but the manner of the defeat will certainly leave a sour taste for Lee Johnson and his players.
It was certainly an off day for Sunderland as they never settled into the game. They’ve been ruthless all season, so for them to lose 4-0 away from home at a side who have struggled for a consistent form will frustrate many.
However, it should give Lee Johnson and his players something to think about before their next game, allowing them to eradicate any of the mistakes they made in this game to ensure it does not happen again.