Sunderland produced their worst display of the season against Portsmouth on Saturday. Phil Parkinson had this to say on the 3-1 defeat: "We didn't start the game well enough today and in the first half-an-hour we caused our own problems," said Parkinson. "Portsmouth didn't surprise us in the way they played - they are physical - but we played too many square passes, there were too many times we gave the ball away cheaply and we got punished for that. When you get pressed like they were pressing us, we had to make better decision to get a foothold in the game. We have done that well recently, but today we didn't do it. In the first half-hour we had too many players who just weren't quite at it in terms of decision-making on the ball, and playing the right ball at the right times. We've discussed it before that when teams come here an put us under pressure, we have found a way to respond to that but today we didn't. We made too many sloppy errors and got punished. Portsmouth were physical and strong, exactly the way we have been playing, and they reversed it on us and we didn't respond the way I would have liked until we got in at half-time and then did a lot better."
"It was a good response after the break, and we had a really good period in the game, but we needed to get a goal in that period," admitted Parkinson. "The flow of the game was disrupted a bit by a couple of injuries, but we looked the most likely team to score at that time - we had the majority of the play, although they were a threat on the counter."
PP on the penalty and O'Nien’s subsequent red card. Parkinson said: "I haven't seen it back, but someone has just told me that he [O'Nien] didn't touch him [Portsmouth's Ryan Williams]. You can't appeal yellow cards anyway, so we'll have to just take that one on the chin. Luke has been magnificent for us. He won't be there on Tuesday but there are other players ready to step in."
Looking ahead to Rochdale, Parkinson added: "We will look at the game and get a clearer understanding of what we didn't do right in that early part of the game, and make sure we're not too flat going into Tuesday night," he said. “We've had a good start but there are going to be setbacks along the way in the season. This is a knock for us, but we need to respond on Tuesday and make sure that the performance level is good from minute one right to the last minute. We played well for a period of the game today, but that isn't enough to beat one of the teams which are going to be in the top six of the table."