ERIC Black refused to look for excuses after losing his only match in charge of Sunderland.
Steve Bruce’s former assistant manager was in caretaker control as the Black Cats were beaten 2-1 at Wolverhampton Wanderers yesterday.
Martin O’Neill takes over today, and with erstwhile coaches Steve Walford and Seamus McDonagh alongside him in the Molineux director’s box, Scotsman Black is likely to be dispensed with.
When Kieran Richardson gave the visitors a 52nd-minute lead, it seemed as though Black might sign off with a win.
But they collapsed after Sebastian Larsson missed a dubious penalty.
Steven Fletcher equalised in less than a minute, and volleyed an 82nd-minute winner with the help of a touch from the arm of Jamie O’Hara.
“It was a disappointing afternoon,” Black admitted. “If the penalty had gone in, you’d like to think we’d have gone on and won the game.
“I thought that was the pivotal moment in the whole of the game.
“I don’t want to blame the person who took it because Seb Larsson has been outstanding this season, but the confidence and energy drained a little bit when it didn’t go in.
“They scored 25 seconds later and that didn’t even give us a chance to galvanise ourselves. I wouldn’t use what has been happening this week as a excuse. The players are all exceptionally good people and they’ve handled things really well.
“The players were quiet for a day or so but as the game got closer they were totally focused and I couldn’t have asked for anything more them in terms of their preparation.
“I felt there was a decent presence about them on the morning of the game and their display showed there’s a good type of person in that dressing room with a good work ethic.
“If we had gone 2-0 up, we would have been in control. Everybody would have wanted the ball and we would probably have had a bit more energy.
“But 25 seconds later it as 1-1 and the place was lifted for the first time.
“It wasn’t as though we had been under enormous pressure from the spectators, I thought we had kept them reasonably quiet until then.”