Sunderland manager Gus Poyet admitted he couldn't explain the huge contrast between his side's Premier League form and their Capital One Cup heroics, after they edged closer to a Wembley final with a 2-1 semifinal first-leg win against Manchester United.
Poyet's side have now beaten Premier League high fliers Southampton, Chelsea and United in successive rounds of the competition, with his frustration that they cannot replicate those performance in the Premier League leaving him more than a little bemused.
"I'm still thinking it is something very strange," he told Sky Sports. "We can beat the top teams, but we cannot beat the teams down the bottom with us. Maybe it suits us to play the top teams and we need to change something against the smaller ones.
"It's not easy to beat Man United. Now we have a chance to go to Old Trafford [for the second leg] with an extra goal, so we will see. It is many, many years since Sunderland last reached a cup final, so we will try our best.
"We want to enjoy our success in this competition, but at the end of the day the Premier League is key."
Poyet's reserved special praise for winger Adam Johnson after he made an impact coming off the bench, and he insisted the tie was still balanced ahead of the second leg at Old Trafford.
"I'm so pleased [for Adam Johnson], he made my day," added Poyet. "We were desperate for him to do well and we had to find the right time and the right space for him, but today he went in and changed the game for us.
"It was tight. I don't think one team was better than the other one. I don't think there were too many chances and if you analyse the chances and the sets plays, but that's football these days. A decision can go your way and you can win the game."
Sunderland skipper John O'Shea insisted the semifinal is 'not over yet' time as he gave his view of the victory, and he echoed Poyet's confusion over the Black Cats' inconcistencies.
"What ever it is in the cups, we need to bring into the Premier League very quickly," stated the former Manchester United defender. "On one off occasions, we seem to be doing it quite well against the top teams. We know we are good enough, but we have seen good teams go down in the past."