It may not have been the stereotypically excitable Italian rant portrayed on Match of the Day, but Paolo Di Canio's eerily calm post-match criticism of his defeated players was certainly withering. His young starting strike force of Ji Dong-won and Connor Wickham were subjected to the lion's share of the opprobrium in the wake of their side's reverse and will have been dismayed by the manner in which their work rate, character and intelligence were traduced.
"We don't ask the moon," explained Di Canio. "Not lose every ball under pressure. We don't ask the moon. Even the corner, the young fella [Ji], he can keep the ball much better if they have more desire. And if they play less empty in the brain they can keep the ball more. At the moment they are empty."
Empty in the brain, then. Stupid. Some might say it is a harsh assessment with which to go public, not least because Di Canio had earlier accused the South Korean of cowardice, suggesting Ji had ducked out of a first-half header when presented with a glorious opportunity to equalise after Sunderland had gone a goal down. Their now customary slapstick defending at corners had enabled Danny Gabbidon to open the scoring from three yards out, although the Wales international seemed oblivious to the fact that it was indeed he who had bagged the gift-wrapped goal.
Steven Fletcher's return from long-term injury was one of few positives on another gloomy day for travelling Mackems and the Scotland striker levelled the scores with a fine header after the interval, when he had been brought on for a supposedly angry Ji.
"I am more disappointed than him," said Di Canio, who denied rumours the beleaguered striker had stormed out of the dressing room upon learning he was to be replaced. "I think also the people, the fans … because the expectation on him is very high because he can do much better, even in only keeping the ball." Ouch.
Di Canio's captain, John O'Shea, was another player to feel the public lash of his manager's tongue, for his contribution to Palace's second. The centre-back needlessly tripped Palace's record signing Dwight Gayle just inside the penalty area and was dismissed for his troubles moments before the former Dagenham and Redbridge striker, signed for £6.5m from Peterborough United, restored his side's lead with his first Premier League goal.
"I don't think even the most arrogant player in the world can argue if you say that the first two goals were absolutely rubbish," Di Canio said. In truth, it was difficult to disagree.
On an afternoon on which Premier League goals were few and far between, Crystal Palace's third was a thing of great beauty and a fine way to draw the final curtain on an entertaining game. With the excellent Jason Puncheon and Mile Jedinak having repeatedly tried their luck with a series of speculative pot-shots, it was left to the substitute Stuart O'Keefe to show the pair the way to goal. His long-range effort fizzed past Keiren Westwood deep in injury time, prompting scenes of delirium in the stands and some embarrassing dad-dancing from Ian Holloway.
"It's like a casserole, like a cake," said the Palace manager afterwards, when discussing his well-documented difficulties when it comes to assembling a squad. "You need all different types of ingredients. That's gospel truth, so don't turn this into a mad Holloway … whatever, because it's true. You need a blend, a mix and a balance."
Having just announced the signing of the Reading winger Jimmy Kébé and Huddersfield full-back Jack Hunt, Holloway raised quite a few eyebrows with his announcement that he still hopes to add "another four or five players" to his pleasing mix.
Should he find himself in the market for an out-of-sorts and "empty in the brain" South Korean striker, his opposite number might be able to steer him in the direction of just such a man.
Man of the match: Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace)