Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce believes there "are lot of positives to take" from the FA Cup defeat to Arsenal ahead of a busy week. In the preview of the game, the boss accused the Premier League of devaluing the division with a "diabolical" schedule, with the Black Cats now preparing for a midweek trip to Swansea before returning to North London to face Tottenham next weekend.
With his side second from bottom in the league, the manager dropped the likes of Jermain Defoe and Fabio Borini for the trip to the Emirates Stadium, taking a surprising lead thanks to Jeremain Lens' early goal before eventually losing 3-1 following goals from Joel Campbell Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud.
"Some of these players will be changed over the next couple of games in order to recover." Allardyce admitted after the game at the Emirates Stadium in his post-match press conference.
"We've got a very difficult week with three away games and all of the travelling. We rotated the squad today and I thought we played very well, for 70 minutes. Hopefully the team on Wednesday play well for the full 90 minutes and we get a result."
Allardyce, nevertheless, took some positives from the defeat, believing his side managed to hold the FA Cup holders for most of the game.
"At 70 minutes we didn't know which way the game was going to go, it was very tight and there were chances at both ends," Allardyce said. "We couldn't continue our progress, we did well for 70 minutes, but as we know a game is 90 minutes."
"However, we move on as there are lots of positives to take from the game," he continued. "The squad have shown that they can play at this level, maybe not quite as good as they should have today, but the players have shown that they can step in and do the job.
"In the end we gave Arsenal too much space and opened ourselves up, they took advantage of that and ultimately that won them the game."