Sunderland's survival hopes suffered another heavy blow after a second-half surrender at Tottenham that bodes ominously for the run-in.
Having taken a first-half lead through Lee Cattermole’s first goal for the club, there was tentative hope that Sunderland could smuggle some unlikely points out of North London to aid their bid to stay in the Premier League.
But Emmanuel Adebayor punished some poor defending from Wes Brown and, after Harry Kane breached Sunderland’s back-line again, the fight dissolved in the Black Cats ranks. They shipped five goals and looked every inch like a team heading for the Championship.
Poyet is running out of time, options and – it must be said – ideas. Last night he dropped John O’Shea in an effort to shore up Sunderland’s leaking defence but it didn’t work, the Black Cats conceding two goals that they should have done more to prevent to cancel out Cattermole’s wonderful opener.
Fabio Borini played through the middle and was supported by Adam Johnson as Jozy Altidore was consigned to playing with the under-21s.
If anything summed up the waste and misadventure of Sunderland this season it was that – the £6.5million striker rotting with the reserves while his senior colleagues tried to conjure something at White Hart Lane.
It started well, to be fair. Brown might have opened the scoring just before Cattermole’s wonderful, collected effort on 18 minutes.
Sunderland needed to stand firm but Adebayor had far too much space in the penalty area to prod past Vito Mannone. Kane did the same in the second half and then it was one-way traffic in favour of the hosts.
Poyet had said after last Monday’s defeat that if he felt the team was no longer giving their all he would step down. There was enough application in the first half to claim that wasn’t the case, but in the second half they were absolutely dreadful.
Christian Eriksen’s deflected effort made it three before Adebayor’s close-range effort and a fifth from Glyfi Siggurdson made it as lop-sided score as it was in the second half. Seven points adrift with seven to play Sunderland’s fate is now out of their hands and they are spinning towards the second tier on this most depressing of evidence.