Capital One Cup final: Gus Poyet heartened by Sunderland display
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet wants his players to use their spirited Capital One Cup final display as a springboard to stay in the Premier League.
The Black Cats, who are battling against relegation, shocked favourites Manchester City by taking the lead at Wembley, but ultimately lost 3-1.
"Sunderland played well. What impressed me is that they kept their discipline. I know they conceded a second goal very quickly, but it was a goal of such good quality. They took the game to Manchester City, but if you don't take your chances then City will punish you."
Poyet was heartened by his team's performance and hopes it will aid their top-flight survival fight.
"If we do this every week, I'm sure we'll stay in the league," he added.
Sunderland - seeking their first major trophy since the famous 1973 FA Cup win against Leeds United - deservedly led at half-time through Fabio Borini's fine angled strike.
Yaya Toure equalised with a brilliant instant finish from 25 yards, before Samir Nasri's spectacular strike changed the entire course of the game. Substitute Jesus Navas added City's third goal in the final minute.
But Sunderland, who are 18th in the table and one point from safety, won praise for their battling performance.
"The Sunderland fans made me feel better because of the way they talked to us on the walk up at the end," added Poyet, who replaced Paolo Di Canio at Sunderland in October with the Black Cats bottom of the Premier League.
"It's a horrible walk to get the losers' medal, it's difficult to take. I'm sorry I wasn't the happiest when I was going up there.
"We need [the fans] now. I've said from day one, it was nearly an impossible job to stay in the Premier League.
"We were at the bottom, too far from the rest, but we have done some special things and I hope this gives us the experience to stay in the Premier League."
The Black Cats have 12 games to save themselves from relegation, while they will return to Wembley if they beat Hull in their FA Cup quarter-final next Saturday.
Captain John O'Shea conceded the better team had won.
Sunderland's key league games
15 March: H v Crystal Palace
22 March: A v Norwich
27 April: H v Cardiff
"We're terribly disappointed," said the former Manchester United defender. "The only way you enjoy a cup final is by winning it.
"It's not a nice place now and we have a huge test for the rest of the season."
Fellow defender Wes Brown said it was vital his team-mates put the disappointment behind them quickly.
"We tried our best and were unlucky at times," Brown told BBC Sport. "We've done well to get here and I hope the fans enjoyed it.
"But we move on. We've got the FA Cup first and then we have to start doing well in the league."