No distractions for Ramsey
Caretaker QPR boss Chris Ramsey insisted fevered speculation over the vacant manager's job did not prove a distraction as he guided them to their first Barclays Premier League away win of the season.
However, if the news had reached the dressing room, it did not break the players' concentration as they surged to a 2-0 victory at the Stadium of Light, not only their first win on the road but their first points at the 12th attempt.
Ramsey said: "I'm not on Twitter because I'm old and I don't know how to work it. But most youngsters are on it, aren't they? The players are young, aren't they, and they are on it. It's just part of their social media life, isn't it?
"Sometimes everybody knows something and no-one is talking about it. It was one of those. I'm sure they must have talked about it amongst themselves, but no-one really let it get in the way of anything today."
As Ramsey's players went about their business, Michael Laudrup's odds of taking over the hot-seat plummeted, although the club's head of development later insisted he did not know what was happening behind the scenes.
He said: "I haven't been given a brief, to be honest with you. I know there was speculation before and I know everyone is going to ask me about that.
"I know there was speculation before the game, but what we tried to do was keep ourselves focussed for the job at hand, and we were successful in that assignment tonight."
Rangers prevailed as a result of Leroy Fer's 17th-minute header and Bobby Zamora's thunderous finish in first-half injury time, although keeper Rob Green had to pull off two fine reaction saves to deny Connor Wickham and Jermain Defoe.
Asked if he felt he himself deserved the job on a permanent basis as a result, Ramsey said with a smile: "I thought I deserved it before this!
"At the end of the day, I have said it before, your life can't be defined by 90 minutes or a fantastic swivel shot that Bobby scored.
"Your life can't be dictated by that. You are either the right man for the job, for the long-term plan, or you're not."
Victory eased QPR out of the relegation zone on goal difference and to within two points of the Black Cats, whose head coach Gus Poyet was in sombre mood after seeing his players response to the home crowd's exhortations after the break, but in a fashion which was not pleasing to his eye.
He said: "Typical us. When we are in a good situation, we always make a step back, so it's something we need to correct because it is happening too many times.
"It happened last year - I am talking only about my time here - and it's happened again this year. Every time we do something all right, then next step is worse.
"The players are trying - you could not ask for more. The second half was as much effort as I have ever seen on this pitch.
"I don't know if it's football - I'm sorry about that - I don't define that as football, I define that as a desperate team running about just trying to be nice with the fans.
"We need to change. I think it's time to sit down, everybody, reflect on football, listen, learn and then maybe we can make a bigger step forward.
"If we keep trying to sort out problems just asking the team to do things we are not capable of doing, then we are going to have this situation for years, with me, without me, with the next manager and with the next five managers.
"It's time. I'd like to be the one to change things, but I cannot see it happening in a short period of time."