Sunderland players 'should repay fans' after 8-0 thrashing
Goalkeeper Vito Mannone says the team should stump up for fans after south-coast horror show
After conceding eight goals against Southampton on Saturday afternoon, embarrassed Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone wants to compensate the team's long-suffering fans by paying for their tickets and travel expenses.
Around 2,500 Black Cats fans made the 329-mile trip from Sunderland to Southampton, only to see their side capitulate in humiliating fashion to the Saints.
The 8-0 scoreline was Southampton's biggest win for 93 years and equalled Sunderland's record league defeat. It was the fourth time they have conceded eight goals and the first time it has happened since 1982.
"I can only really remember conceding that many goals in training," admitted Mannone, who was at fault for several of the goals. "I take all the responsibility I can take for each goal. After we conceded, we threw in the towel and I include myself.
"I will personally talk to the team to see if it is possible to pay their tickets and their trip. It is difficult for us but it’s very difficult for them as well."
The gesture is an "attempt to repair the humiliation of Saturday afternoon", says the Daily Telegraph. However the paper notes that the players may have more to worry about than reimbursing the fans when they report for training today. "So incensed was manager Gus Poyet that he could not face seeing his players yesterday and a hostile atmosphere awaits at training this morning."
The Black Cats next fixture is against Arsenal on Saturday and the players' response will be key. "He is demanding that his players prove during training they are prepared to make amends," explains The Guardian.
And the events of Saturday afternoon would have been doubly chastening for the Uruguayan manager, who was incandescent on the touchline. "Poyet had questioned his player's character several times last season but four wins from the final five matches saved Sunderland from relegation and that run, combined with a promising start to this campaign, suggested the club was finally on an upward trajectory."
He, like Mannone, issued an apology to the fans after the game and warned his players that the next week would be "interesting".