Simon Grayson refused to be downbeat after Sunderland exited the Carabao Cup at the hands of Premier League side Everton.
The Black Cats boss made six changes to his starting XI as the likes of Jason Steele, Billy Jones, Darron Gibson and Lynden Gooch came into the side to face the Toffees.
But it was Ronald Koeman’s Everton who came out on top, Dominic Calvert-Lewin stole the show with an impressive double before second-half substitute Oumar Niasse added a third.
Sunderland weren’t without their chances at the other end, with James Vaughan going close on three occasions for the Black Cats as their Carabao Cup venture came to an end.
Speaking post-match Grayson delivered his verdict.
"When you are coming here you know it is going to be a tough game," he said.
"They had got a strong team and a strong bench. I thought at stages we were quite comfortable but when you give good players time and room in the 18-yard box they are going to punish you with a pass or with a finish.
"That was the key tonight because the chances they took were given to them.
"That was disappointing and that is regardless of whether you are playing Everton or Cardiff on Saturday you have got to be ruthless in the 18-yard box and at the top end of the pitch we need to have just a little bit more purpose about us.
"We knew it was going to be tough for us tonight but the first part of it was good," he continued.
"When we have the ball we need to keep it better, we need to put them under pressure a little bit more and obviously the chances we made with Jonny Williams and Callum McManaman coming on helped us create some chances."