If you're as avid of a Football Manager player as I am, you will no doubt be familiar with the classic "the match engine hates me" game.
You know, it's the one where the opposing goalkeeper turns into superman and keeps a clean sheet despite you getting seven clear cut chances, while at the other they score with their one and only shot from a set piece or a random bounce or match-engine glitch. While it wasn't quite that drastic for Sunderland (12 shots, half of which were blocked, but still scored with all three of their shots-on-target) and Vito Mannone vetoed very little (two saves), the scoreline still ended up resembling a hockey game far more than a football match.
"The game is ... also about basic things, and we failed in those basic things."
"The most basic is to defend set-plays. In a game where we should win clearly because of the way we played, we had a risk until the last second."
It's not your fault, José. You could not have known that
Gus TRON Poyet was in fact the ghost in the machine, manipulating the electrons and using all the AI tricks to keep pace with Chelsea. Their conversion rate on set pieces reminded me of the infamous "corner glitch" from a few FM versions ago. Somebody clear the ball, for goodness sakes! They even voodooed Mikel into fluffing a clearance! It was crazy business.
Yet, much to Sunderland's chagrin, we had a master cheat code as well: Eden "up up down down left right left right B A B A" Hazard. If David Luiz is like a 10-year-old on the Playstation, Hazard is like a grand master FIFA champion hopped up on a sixer of Red Bull and a Big Grab of Doritos. Nacho cheese, of course.
"It was his best performance playing for me. We know about the talent, but for the first time under me he showed ambition from the first to the last minute."
"He has great talent but sometimes he can disappear from games. Today, he was fantastic - getting the ball, attacking defenders, shooting."
Poyet tried to stop him with two, three defenders even. "Unplayable."
The rest of his teammates, especially on the creative side of the ball, were no slouches either. Jose also praised both Juan Mata and Willian and summed it all up as the best away performance of the season.
"We played a phenomenal game, our best game away from home. There was top quality, great creativity in the three attacking players behind Fernando and beautiful goals."
You know how Graham said a few days ago that we're "making progress" and the best is yet to come? Oh yes. Yes, indeed. We're in this to win it. I can hardly wait.