Elliott Dickman couldn’t hide his disappointment as he reviewed Friday’s Premier League 2 defeat to Newcastle United.
At the midway point, Sunderland were in control as they led through a Lee Connelly and Jack Diamond strike.
However, the Magpies had pulled one back before break and that gave them the momentum in the second 45 to complete what seemed an unlikely outcome after 34 minutes.
Elias Sorensen levelled the match with an hour played before Rosaire Longelo-Mbule struck an injury-time winner to secure the points.
Speaking post-match, Dickman cut a frustrated figure as he admitted his players need to learn fast about the ruthless nature of football.
“It is a really hard one to take because I thought in the first half we were good and we got the two goals,” he said.
“Jack Diamond’s finish was fantastic, he showed good technique and good care and to be honest I thought we thoroughly deserved our lead at half time.
“We conceded at a poor time just before the break and in the second half we were probably too deep, and we let them get a bit of momentum.
“We allowed them to get back into the game and control it a little too much,” he continued.
“It’s tough to take and the lads are all very deflated. We’re starting to say the same things too much too often and one or two need to start taking the information on board.
“We’re saying it because we want them to improve and develop and one or two need to digest it a little quicker.
“The team has improved over the season. We’ve got one or two very good players, but we need one or two more nasty players.
“There’s too many that need to step up and too many need to stop being too nice because they are in a young environment, but they aren’t in the under-18s. They are an environment which is a step away from the first-team.
“It’s ruthless and tough and the lads need to understand that.”