Chris Coleman refused to be downbeat following Sunderland’s defeat to Bolton Wanderers, insisting his side showed the ‘heart and spirit’ needed to turn things around.

The Black Cats produced a dominant performance at Macron Stadium but a fortuitous goal condemned them to defeat, as Zach Clough’s contentious early strike sealed the points.

Ashley Fletcher saw a flurry of first-half chances fall by the wayside, with Callum McManaman denied in the dying seconds as the stubborn Bolton defence held firm.

Post-match, Coleman shared his take on a frustrating night.

“In terms of our performance that was a lot more like it tonight,” said the Welshman.

“It was never going to be easy coming here and it was a big game for them as well, but I think we were the better team over the 90 minutes.”

He continued: “They got that goal which was incredibly fortunate, but after that we really dictated.

“Maybe we will get one of those decisions and they’ll come to us – I think you earn them –  but tonight we drew a line in the sand after the last four games where we were performing for 45 minutes here and there.

“That’s not good enough and it has to be for 90 minutes with that type of heart and spirit, and then we’ll have a great chance of getting out of trouble.

“We have to march on, march forward, because I thought we showed good team spirit tonight and there was a good balance about us which is what we need moving forward.

“If you’re going to lose you have to leave everything out on the pitch, and I thought we left everything on the pitch tonight.

“I’m disappointed because we’ve lost three points and it was another opportunity for us, but I can’t criticise the lads’ endeavour and work rate.”

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