George Honeyman has called for his team-mates to bottle the pain from Saturday’s defeat and use it as motivation to ensure promotion is achieved this season.
Sunderland played out a nine-goal contest against Coventry City at the weekend but fell just short as they suffered only their third league defeat of the season.
The loss halted the Black Cats’ impressive unbeaten run on home turf, which stretched back to April 2018, while also dented their promotion hopes as they slipped down to third with just five games left.
With another home game fast approaching, skipper Honeyman has admitted now isn’t the time to sit and sulk as promotion is still in Sunderland’s grasp to achieve.
“The games are coming thick and fast and there’s no time to dwell on Saturday,” he told safc.com.
“We have got to be better in all aspects of the pitch.
“It is still very much in our hands. The defeat has made it tougher but there’s no time to dwell and now we’ve got to go head first into our next game.
“We never know when we are beaten because we kept coming back. That will stand us in good stead, but we can’t afford to put ourselves in that position again.
“We’ve had 41 league games and 53 in all competitions – we can’t mess it up now,” he continued.
“This is the part where you want to be involved. As players this is what you work hard for to be fighting for something at this stage of the season.
“It’s for us to do, we’ve got a great set of lads and I’ve got every confidence we will bounce back.
“We have to look at ourselves, as a team and areas we weren’t good enough in.
“The one thing we take from it is that we never gave up, we never quit.
“We need to bottle how we are feeling now and ensure we go head first into our next five games and achieve our goal of promotion.”