Alan Pardew wasted no time in admitting that his side were not clinical enough in their 1-0 defeat at home to Sunderland last night.
It was a game almost everyone had expected the Eagles to win, which was perhaps our biggest problem in the build-up to the tie, as Sam Allardyce’s Black Cats prepared a tactical plan which saw them sit deep and absorb pressure for the vast majority of the evening.
Having been punished by Jermain Defoe following a messy passage of play involving Bolasie, Dann and Hennessey, we, as hosts, were unable to find a way through the stoic Sunderland defence, in what was a thoroughly frustrating night for everyone associated with the club.
Refusing to make excuses for what was a genuinely poor attacking performance from us, Pardew’s comments, alongside his dour tone, do a good job of reflecting the emotions felt by most fans in the stands on the night.
Understandably frustrated by the lack of quality we were able to show in the final third, his interview chimes perfectly with the flat atmosphere that greeted the players inside the stadium. For the first time in months, there was a sense of inevitability about the result from relatively early on; quite why that was is a mystery, but one that Pardew will be tasked with getting to the bottom of in time for the visit of Newcastle this weekend.