Jack Ross admitted harsh lessons must be learned following Sunderland’s defeat at home to Coventry City.
The Sky Blues raced out of the traps and into a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes before Charlie Wyke and Will Grigg hauled the Lads level before the break.
Max Power was then on target again to cancel out Jordan Shipley’s arrowed strike, but Conor Chaplin struck the decisive blow in the 78th minute to secure the win and deal Sunderland their first home defeat of the season.
“We’re are sorely disappointed to lose our long unbeaten record at home,” Ross said.
“It was tough afternoon for us but the brutal truth is we cannot defend in that manner and expect to win games and pick up points.
“We made poor decisions in possession and out of possession and we were punished for it.
“At this stage of the season, it isn’t a time for finger pointing or pulling things apart. There’s a balance with a recognition and accountability of what we did well in the game and what you can do better.
“It’s that time of the season that after 41 games we’ve put in a lot of hard work to get to where we are.
“If we win our five remaining games then we will achieve what we set out to at the start of the season.
“Now, we need to be better than what we were today but after 41 games of hard work with five to go, it’s a time to pull together.
“It’s in our own hands and it can remain in our hands if we stick together and go and win our last five.”