David Moyes admitted his side missed the chance to earn at least a point against Premier League leaders Chelsea.
The Black Cats were spirited throughout on an emotionally-charged evening at the Stadium of Light as the Black Cats and the Blues united to pay tribute to the brave youngster, Bradley Lowery.
While the league-leaders dominated possession, Jordan Pickford was in inspired form as he made a splendid save to deny Pedro without knowing about a belated offside flag.
Chelsea continued to pepper Pickford’s goal and made the break through on 40 minutes, Cesc Fabregas was the orchestrator and the finisher as he combined with Willian before slotting home from 20 yards.
Sunderland continued to battle away but were denied by two outstanding saves from Thibaut Courtois as Adnan Januzaj and Patrick van Aanholt went close to levelling things up.
Speaking post-match, Moyes delivered an honest assessment.
“I didn’t think we played well in the first half but in the main part I thought we were resilient,” he said.
“I was really disappointed with the goal we conceded; if we’d had better possession that wouldn’t have happened, we missed two or three tackles.
“Chelsea have really good quality and up until then we had restricted them to only one or two clear cut opportunities.
“We had done a good job in stopping them and as the game went on we grew into it. Their goalkeeper made two brilliant saves to stop us getting anything back.
“I was happy enough with what we did in the second half, but definitely not the first. We need to be braver on the ball.
“We were always going to be up against it playing Chelsea, but we were resilient and the players stuck at their task,” he continued.
“I had a feeling and I hoped that something might have fell for us in the last few minutes, but unfortunately it didn’t.
“We need to start taking points from these sorts of games, we can’t just keep losing. We need to get points on the board.”