Sunderland boss David Moyes slammed his side's first half display in the 2-0 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park.
Everton started brightly, pressing the Black Cats back from the off and while Sunderland held firm the Toffees eventually took the lead five minutes before half-time.
Idrissa Gana Gueye with a smart finish inside the area to put Everton, who hit the post moments later through Tom Davies, in a commanding position at the break.
Moyes was far from happy with his side's display in the opening 45 minutes, describing it as "really poor" and criticising their use of the ball.
"I thought we were really poor in the first half. I wanted to come here and frustrate the crowd, I know what it is like," said Moyes.
"I wanted to keep them quiet and keep the game at a low level. For long periods we did that but we didn't play well when he had the ball, we gave it away.
"Never done anything well with the ball. That was really the key message. I was glad we only went in 1-0 down at half-time because they hit the post too and that could have changed it.
"While we were 1-0 down we were always in with a chance in the game and we couldn't play any worse than we did in the first half.
"I told them that and told them to take the ball more and be a bit braver.
"I thought we did that. It was never going to be an easy game but it gave us a chance."
Sunderland upped their game after the break and produced a much-improved second-half display, with Jermain Defoe hitting the crossbar moments before Everton scored their second.
On first glance it looked in but replays showed it bounced onto the line.
Everton then hit Sunderland on the break, scoring a second through Romelu Lukaku to seal the win ten minutes before the end.
Moyes added: "Jermain makes a great bit of space to try and get it.
"To be fair to Everton I think one of their defender's makes a block and it loops over the keeper, if it wasn't for technology maybe it would have been given as a goal.
"From where we were sitting it looked like it had gone in but it obviously hadn't."
Moyes said the game against 7th-placed Everton was always going to be a difficult one and insists he doesn't think his Sunderland side are far away from a winning run.
"Away from home at Everton was always going to be a tough game, I'm looking forward to a good run. I'm sure we have one to come," he added.
"A few of the teams have had theirs. We are not that far away and us winning a few games would change things around.
"As you well know, Sunderland have been in this position quite regularly. That experience might help us."