David Moyes was left frustrated that Sunderland's brave resistance brought no reward as they fell to a late 2-0 defeat at Liverpool.
The Black Cats were sunk by a neat finish from sub Divock Origi 15 minutes from time before conceding a second in the first minute of stoppage time when James Milner converted a penalty.
Sunderland had spent much of the match defending at Anfield and they did it to good effect, frustrating one of the title favourites.
But all their blood, sweat and tears counted for nought and, to rub salt in the wounds, they returned to the bottom of the Premier League after Swansea's dramatic 5-4 win over Crystal Palace.
"We were pleased with two great results and, to be truthful, the last place you want to come after that is Anfield," he said.
"We knew it was always going to be a difficult game for us.
"I thought the players did a great job in managing the game, we knew this was the way it would go.
"But we still tried to create chances when we could, even if they were few and far between.
"We looked to make sure we tried to contain Philippe Coutinho and make sure he could not dominate the game
"We tried to do a job but in the end, it wasn't good enough.
"The difference in quality between the squads was the reason,"
Moyes was left to bemoan the "fine margins" between winning and losing - Sunderland had a gilt-edged chance when the match was evenly-poised in the 68th minute.
Victor Anichebe set up Duncan Watmore, only for the wide midfielder's poor first touch take the ball too wide. He did get the ball into the danger area, but the home defence scrambled clear.
"I thought we had a great chance at 0-0.
"Victor slips in Duncan Watmore - he can either hit it with his left or he can quickly control it and get a shot away.
"They are the small margins you sometimes need to take.
"Then they go and get their goal.
"I'm not even sure if it was a shot or cross when Origi has flicked the ball over but whatever it was, it was a goal."