Thursday 4 December 2014 07:31, UK
Gus Poyet hailed Sergio Aguero as one of the best in the world after he watched the Manchester City striker put his Sunderland team to the sword.
The hosts looked on track to continue their good run against the champions when Will Buckley gave them a 19th-minute lead at the Stadium of Light, but City hit back to win 4-1 thanks to goals from Stevan Jovetic, Pablo Zabaleta and a brace from the in-form Aguero.
Poyet admitted his team were tired after their gutsy 0-0 draw with Chelsea on Saturday, but felt that even at full strength they would have struggled to contain the Premier League’s top scorer.
The Sunderland manager told Sky Sports: “We started the game very well. The idea was not just to go and defend, but to go and create a few chances to score a couple of goals and make it difficult for them.
“We did it. We got ahead and then there was quality from someone who is in great form like Aguero. From nothing he created something, scored an unbelievable goal and then the game changed.
“From then on they were better than us overall, you have to say that. They were better technically, they were stronger, they were better in possession and even at defending they were better than us because they were stronger. It was a difficult night.
“I don’t like to make excuses, but I have to say it’s difficult to maintain that level and concentration and strength after playing Chelsea on Saturday. Especially mentally, it was hard for the boys.
“You have to accept when you play against Aguero, Nasri and Toure, you know how good they can be. You need to be at your best and unfortunately we were not today.”
Aguero has now scored 14 Premier League goals this season, putting him three clear of Chelsea striker Diego Costa in the race for the Golden Boot.
When asked how to stop him, Poyet said it would require commitment and concentration throughout the defending team.
He said: “You need to be very good individually, you need to be aware, you need to be powerful, you need to be quick and you need to cover each other. You need to always concentrate and you need to be spot on.
“Even then I would say you have to find a way of attacking. We had to accept that today we played against one of the top strikers in the world.”