AS a Sunderland supporter, you would be forgiven for taking little notice of what Alan Shearer has to say.
Turning Match of the Day on later than usual would have been recommended for Black Cats fans, especially those who made the 750-round mile trip to St Mary’s, as the top of the running order made for painful viewing.
Former Newcastle striker Shearer gave an in-depth criticism of an “embarrassing” performance from Gus Poyet’s side as Southampton recorded an astonishing 8-0 win over the men from Wearside.
It was only a second defeat in eight league games for the Black Cats this season, but it was their heaviest in Premier League history – a thumping loss described by Poyet as his “most embarrassing moment” in football.
Two own goals contributed with Graziano Pelle helping himself to a double with further goals from Jack Cork, Victor Wanyama, Dusan Tadic and Saido Mane racking up Saints’ biggest win since 1921.
“I thought Southampton were absolutely brilliant. Having said that, they were allowed to play, time on the ball to take touches, turn and have a hit at goal,” said Shearer.
But the Premier League’s all-time record goalscorer laid into Sunderland’s ineptitude, claiming Southampton were “gifted the goals” as a result of Black Cats defending which he described as “so sloppy” and “absolutely incredible.”
A spectacular Santiago Vergini own goal after 12 minutes was “the start of a very, very bad day” according to Shearer, 44, who spent four years at Southampton between 1988 and 1992.
“I’m afraid to say the players downed tools far too early for anyone’s liking,” he added. “Sunderland were absolutely woeful.”
September’s player of the month Pelle took his tally to six goals in eight league appearances as Southampton, who moved up to third in the table, established a comfortable cushion.
Shearer felt the fourth goal – recorded as an own goal by Liam Bridcutt – was “a centre forward’s goal” and should have been credited to Pelle.
But he accused the entire Sunderland team of “a lack of reaction” in the build-up to the sixth goal by Tadic, which stemmed from a glaring misplaced pass from goalkeeper Vito Mannone.
The former England international said he would be “fascinated” to see which team Poyet would select to face Arsenal at the Stadium of Light next Saturday, claiming all the players that featured against the Saints “deserved to be left out.”
Shearer did reserve praise for Southampton and said boss Ronald Koeman “deserves a tremendous amount of credit” for the club’s impressive form since the Dutchman replaced Mauricio Pochettino in the summer.
Fellow MOTD pundit Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink believes Koeman, named the Premier League’s manager of the month for September, has done “a very good job.”
The former Dutch international added: “He [Koeman] was always someone that was very calm. They were talking about him taking over the national team so everyone thinks very highly of him.
“He has got that quality of making players feel very good about themselves. Everyone at Southampton is happy to play.”