The Black Cats, with new signing Jermain Defoe among their number for the first time at the Stadium of Light, couldn’t break the deadlock, and might have lost it at the death when substitute Hugo Rodallega rattled the post from distance following Jack Rodwell’s sending-off.
There were boos from the home supporters among a crowd of 22,961 on the final whistle, and Poyet admitted a disconnect with the club’s supporters in recent weeks was making things more difficult as he attempts to find the answer to their problems.
“I am bothered about the shape, I am bothered about the pressing, the quantity of times we had the chance to play forward and we didn’t, the missed connection at the moment with the fans,” Poyet said.
“I think the fans want Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips back, but they are not playing anymore. There are plenty of things that we need to change because if not, it’s going to be difficult.
“When we are all together, it’s easier and at the moment, it doesn’t look like that.
“There are players who need the famous ‘confidence’ word for them to be better and when the stadium is not happy, the players don’t express themselves and that makes kick and rush very easy.
Jack Rodwell, who had been booked for an ugly first-half challenge on full-back Konstantinos Stafylidis, was dismissed for blocking the keeper’s attempted throw-out, although Poyet was not unduly worried by his moment of madness.
“I am not bothered, those are the actions of football,” Poyet added.
“People who play football at the highest level know that sometimes you do things that if you could go back, probably you wouldn’t do it.”
Fulham boss Kit Symons left Wearside delighted with his players’ efforts, but bemoaning a missed opportunity to win the tie on the day.
“There’s an element of satisfaction to take, but also a bit of frustration, really,” Symons said.
“Before the game, I fancied us to win it. At 11 v 11, I still fancied us to win it and then the after the sending-off, we were caught between two stools a little bit.
“We will never have a better opportunity to beat a top-flight team away from home than today, but when we play at Craven Cottage, I fancy us in that as well.
“I was confident before the game and I am equally, if not more, confident now. But also, they are top-flight opposition. They have got some excellent players, and they showed that when they went down to 10 men.”