Out-thought by a rookie
Besieged boss David Moyes was left to survey the wreckage of what remains of his career, reputation and Sunderland tenure at Leicester's King Power Stadium last night.
The veteran of over 800 games as a league manager was out-thought by an opposite number with a grand total of just 7 games to his managerial CV.
Moyes will be dreading what's in store for him for the rest of the season as a fresh volley of newspaper headlines awaits. With no sign of the slap-scandal abating, the Sunderland boss must now also acknowledge certain relegation.
Sunderland are all but down - before the first week in April has been completed - and now haven't won or scored for two months in this limpest of relegation fights.
Here's how the national press reported last night's two-goal defeat at Leicester.
With his recent behaviour all over the news still, the press will continue to take shots at Moyes and his slap comments at will. His side played reasonably well but were undone by two second half substitutions,
David Moyes leant against the edge of the tunnel with a face like thunder. His anger on Tuesday night was not aimed at a BBC reporter, though, but rather his failing players.
Sunderland crumbled again here to hasten their drop towards the Championship. Moyes had seen his side do better than most against Leicester under Craig Shakespeare, but succumb to defeat all the same.
And Sunderland fans are left to survey the wreckage Moyes has left in his wake,
Moyes's misfortune has been all of his own making, on and off the pitch. He has failed to lift a modest yet Premier League-hardened group of players out of the relegation zone for more than a couple of weeks at the start of the season.
And now he has heaped embarrassment on the club with his shameful comments to reporter Vicki Sparks. A bad week for Moyes got worse here when Shakespeare sent on Islam Slimani and Marc Albrighton just after the hour. Seven minutes later, the pair had combined to give Leicester the breakthrough.
All too predictable for Sunderland as the ground-hog day performances of recent weeks just keep on coming,
For long periods of this game, you would have struggled to pick out which team were bottom of the league and which were the champions. By full-time, the difference was starkly apparent.
Leicester effortlessly turned the screw in the second half to win their sixth consecutive game under Craig Shakespeare. They are safe. For Sunderland, and for their godforsaken manager David Moyes, oblivion beckons.
And a reminder from the joyous Leicester fans of just who the last laugh can be aimed at,
For Moyes, assailed by accusations of sexism in recent days, this was a strong case for being removed from his job by more conventional means. “You’re getting slapped in the morning,” the Leicester fans gleefully sang at him.
This game was won and lost by one manager's decisive substitutions compared with the other stood frozen on the outskirts of his dugout and a dodgy defence who switch off at key moments,
With 20 minutes to go. Leicester finally eased the door off its hinges, courtesy of their two substitutes. Albrighton darted down the left, cut inside, crossed. Lamine Kone challenged for the ball with all the enthusiasm of the third shepherd in a child’s nativity play. Slimani’s header thudded past Pickford. One-nil. Ten minutes too late, Moyes brought on Victor Anichebe and Wahbi Khazri.
Under no pressure, David Moyes continues to shame Sunderland,
David Moyes presided over another Sunderland defeat as a regretful and chastened manager but not one at risk of being fired for suggesting he might slap a female reporter.
And another reminder of the tactical ineptitude staring wide-eyed on the touchline at what unfolded in front of him.
Given their meagre points tally going into the game Sunderland needed a win to swell belief in a relegation escape but Moyes saw no need to change their approach at half-time, seemingly hopeful his team could eke out a goal playing as they were even if their top scorer, Jermain Defoe, had barely been involved.
Whilst the brave souls who made the trip from Wearside trudged home, the difference between these two clubs - who had once competed in a joyless rivalry as to who could lay claim to the most 'miraculous' of relegation escapes - could not be more stark.
Foxes fans were treated to cakes and pints to celebrate their chairman Vichai Srivaddanaprabha's birthday in stark contrast to Black Cats supporters now facing an uncertain future at a club whose ethos and repeated ability to attract criticism shows no sign of abating.
Ellis Short's Sunderland - unpleasant, undignified and now with fate finally catching up with them.