Simon Grayson admitted his side were made to learn a cruel lesson in the Sky Bet Championship this evening.
Daryl Murphy dealt the Black Cats the cruellest of blows when he slotted home an 85th minute winner in front of the South Stand after Sunderland had dominated throughout.
Chances were rife throughout, with Lewis Grabban sizing up Jordan Smith’s goal from range before George Honeyman saw his effort blocked away by a last-ditch challenge.
Callum McManaman continued to impress on his first start for the lads, forcing Smith into action at the start of the second period, with Jonny Williams marginally missing the target with a fierce drive which rocketed an inch wide of the post.
But for all the chances Grayson’s side were dealt a major blow with five minutes left to play, Ty Browning’s lax pass was pounced on and Murphy bagged his fourth goal of the season.
Speaking post-match Sunderland boss Grayson delivered his verdict.
"It was a game we certainly didn’t deserve to lose.
"I thought we played well, with intensity, and we limited them to very few opportunities
"We passed the ball well and we looked a threat going forward. Ultimately, we just couldn’t get the ball in the back of the net or get the breaks that we deserved.
"It was a cruel blow for Tyias [Browning] to make the mistake for their goal because up until then him and Marc Wilson were very solid at the back. We were punished for the only real mistake we made in the game.
"We’ve got to keep believing in ourselves," the Black Cats boss continued.
"We’ve got a good group of players and we’re no a million miles away from turning that result into a victory
"There are positives to take from Saturday’s result and again tonight
"The lads gave all they could tonight. We asked them to be brave with and without the ball and gout there and make things happen.
"We need to keep being positive and believe in ourselves going forward," Grayson added.
"The fans could see what we wanted the players to do and they stuck with them and got behind them tonight, unfortunately, sometimes you don’t get what you deserve and that was certainly the case tonight"
Watch Grayson's full interview on SAFSee above