Sam Allardyce has admitted Sunderland are in ‘big trouble’ after they went down 1-0 at home to Manchester City at the Stadium of Light.
A battling performance deserved at least a point, but the Black cats were unable to cancel out Sergio Aguero’s 16th-minute strike.
With Bournemouth winning, and Swansea getting a draw – denied a win by a last-gasp West Brom equaliser – it leaves Sunderland still second-bottom.
Norwich’s defeat against Tottenham means it wasn’t all doom and gloom, but Allardyce admitted things weren’t looking good for his side.
“We missed too many chances today and when you play a Manchester City side and have better chances than them, it shows the level of our performance,” Allardyce told the BBC.
“There’s no result for us, the points aren’t there, but the positives are.
“While this performance was the best since I’ve been here, we’re in big trouble now when you look at the other results tonight.”
Man City had a number of players booked for time-wasting late on, as Sunderland pressed for a leveller.
Wahib Khazri showed his class as a half-time substitute, while fellow new boy Lamine Kone impressed from the start, and Jan Kirchhoff had a good game in midfield after his disastrous debut against Spurs.
Allardyce added: “It was a testament to our performance that they pulled off a striker at half-time and sent on a midfielder.
“Our debutants made some good contributions. I thought Jan Kirchoff was outstanding in midfield.”