Dick Advocaat has told the Chronicle that he warned his Sunderland players that they simply had to raise their game at half-time of their Capital One Cup clash with Manchester City on Tuesday night.
The Black Cats were blown away in the first 45 minutes of the contest, with City going into the break 4-0 up.
Strikes from Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne, as well as an own goal from Vito Mannone, did the damage for Manuel Pellegrini's side, and Advocaat was keen to let his Sunderland side know the severity of the situation when they came in at the break.
The Dutch boss said that City would have scored another four if his side did not raise their game, but was pleased with how his side reacted to his team talk, as they grabbed a late consolation to make the final result 4-1.
“I said to the players at half-time, they had to go and show the commitment not only for the team but also as individuals, because if we go on like had the last 15 minutes, they will score another four goals," he said.
“I was very pleased with what I saw in the second half. They worked really hard and you could see the fans saw that and stayed until the end.”
Despite Advocaat's positive spin on the performance, the manner of the defeat has raised further questions around the Stadium of Light.
City may be one of the most threatening teams in England, but the manner in which they sliced through the Sunderland defence was alarming.
It leaves the Black Cats with a lot of work to do on the training ground, as they prepare for their Premier League match against Manchester United at the weekend.