PRIDE! That was the word used over and over again in innumerable post-match interviews by Gus Poyet after Sunderland’s Capital One Cup final appearance.
Pride in his players, pride in his club and pride in the fans who revelled in their day at Wembley
Football is a world game now and the Premier League the most multi-national in the world – something which saw Poyet giving his interviews in Spanish and English.
But no matter what the language, the message was the same from Poyet – he was hurt badly by the result but proud that those associated with Sunderland had not let themselves down.
He said: “I’m proud of the players and I’ve told them that.
“I wanted to see my team on the pitch on the day and I saw my team on the day – so I’m proud.
“We gave it the best shot we could give, and for 45 minutes we were decent but then Yaya Toure scores a world class goal.
“The only way we could have defended that was if we’d played with two goalkeepers!
“In the end, it was quality which made the difference, they produced two amazing finishes.
“But what we have to remember is that we didn’t really make mistakes - we forced Manchester City to win in a quality way.”
Poyet felt that Sunderland played well enough to win the game, rising perfectly to the challenge of Wembley.
The only problem was that City rose to it too!
“We needed Man City to be average on the day if we were to win,” he said.
“We knew if City played very well, we would have a problem.
“When we beat them at home in the league, the key was that we restricted them to loads of shots from outside the box.
“We managed to do almost the same at Wembley but those shots that were flying wide of the target, went in this time.
“There’s nothing you can do about world class finishes.
“So I’m sad about the result. Very sad. I hate losing.
“But I’m proud of the players – the team lost, but it lost in the right way.”