Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has accused critics of not having a clue following his team's FA Cup defeat against Hull City.
After reaching the Capital One Cup final this season - eventually beaten by Manchester City 3-1 - Sunderland were aiming for a return to Wembley but lost 3-0 to Hull in their quarter-final clash on the weekend.
Poyet made six changes to the team that stepped out against City and after receiving criticism, the former Brighton boss has hit back and defended his team selection.
"If we were playing Real Madrid, maybe they would have a point," he told BBC Newcastle.
"But that team was good enough to win.
"People will criticise, but you cannot go back - some of them haven't got a clue what goes on behind the doors.
"Wes Brown and Craig Gardner were injured, Jozy Altidore and Valentin Roberge ill, Emanuele Giaccherini started and he is one of our most expensive players, Steven Fletcher is coming back and Ignacio Scocco needs to play.
"There are no excuses from me, if someone wants to look for some, then fine. I'm man enough to say we played 11 first-team players that were certainly good enough to win the match."
Due to their cup commitments, the Black Cats have played just one Premier League match in a month and prepare to host Crystal Palace in a relegation six-pointer this weekend.
With this in mind, Poyet is hopeful that his team can put their recent cup disappointment behind them knowing they'll leapfrog Tony Pulis' side with victory.
"If I was a player, going to play the team three points ahead, I wouldn't be affected or down just because there is no more cup and no more Wembley," he added.
"If there are weak players in the dressing room feeling sorry, I assure you they will not play.
"I cannot control everything, but I will say to our fans is that we'll do everything to prepare a team to beat Crystal Palace."
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