David Moyes believes Sunderland "didn't collapse" in the Stadium of Light thrashing by Arsenal but was upset to concede goals from crosses.
The Black Cats equalled the worst-ever start to a Premier League season, set by Manchester City in 1995-96, when they lost 4-1 to the Gunners.
Sunderland looked on for a point when skipper Jermain Defoe converted from the spot with 25 minutes to go after Duncan Watmore was brought down by Petr Cech.
But the home side were undone by three goals inside seven whirlwind minutes.
Oliver Giroud came off the bench to score twice, converting a Kieran Gibbs cross before heading in a corner, with Alexis Sanchez showing his poise to net his second in the 78th minute, having headed the Gunners in front in the 19th minute.
"I didn't think we collapsed," said Moyes.
"The biggest thing which disappointed me was that we lost goals from crosses.
"If you asked me what I would want Arsenal to do and it would be to cross it.
"We lost the first two goals to crosses which you might say was untypical Arsenal and the third was a corner."
The Gunners goal spree, between the 72nd and 78th minutes, came after Moyes had brought on fit-again Adnan Januzaj in the hope of getting the bottom-of-the-table Cats a shock victory.
"I wanted to give us a chance to win the game," said the Scot, whose side now have just two points from 10 matches.
"We'd got it back to one each and wanted to go on.
"A point would have been important and against Arsenal a great point but we were needing three points.
"Adnan's just back and we need to try to get his fitness up properly but I wanted to see if we could get his quality into the game to give us a chance."
Moyes was pleased with how his side had battled and felt there was no lack of effort and, in fact, thought Sunderland may go on to win it.
"We had to hang in in the first half and I said to the players at half-time 'we're still in the game'," he said.
"We grew into it, got back into it [with Defoe's goal] and at that time I thought we were the better team."