"I don't think it does affect him; I think he just wants to play football and let that do the talking - I don't think he gets involved in anything else," he insists.
Nonetheless, after another week in which claims have been made about him - similar to one saying he would be leaving the club in the summer, which of course never happened - Paul admits it is annoying for them to be repeated.
"It always is; there is a strong feeling to dig at us and cause trouble but you just have to get on with it," he says, "and hopefully we will get the results and the performances right - and then we can have people say nice things.
"Jermain was busting to play on Saturday as he has been around the training ground and it has hurt him badly to miss the five games."
Looking at the Sunderland match, he adds:
"It was a difficult game and we certainly contributed to making our own problems with a couple of poor goals that we gave away to a very bright, confident side.
"They have given almost everyone they have played a very good game and to give two goals to them meant it was a tough one to claw back.
"They were very disappointing goals defensively for different reasons and it took a monumental effort to pull it back.
"There has been general work on the defence this week, that's for sure."
He sees the Sunderland game as a marked improvement on the Stoke defeat and adds:
"The attitude in the second half against Stoke was pretty good but we just didn't get the break and we didn't take any chances.
"But the introduction of Brian on Saturday was a major influence in changing the shape of the game and it did cause trouble and create opportunities which, along with Jermain, we took.
"It would be nice to win again; we have been on a run but not necessarily winning games and it is important to add the wins to the draws - and more of the former than the latter."
Paul admits it is a blow being without Christian Dailly and adds:
"He has been in good form for us and is a very, very reliable defender who we will miss but it is up to the others to fit in, shuffle around, and create a solid unit - there are a few different options."