Lee Johnson delivers verdict on Sunderland's latest defeat and makes top-two admission
Lee Johnson conceded that his Sunderland side now have to try and rebuild ahead of a likely play-off campaign after they fell to a third consecutive defeat at Blackpool.
The Sunderland boss said he was extremely disappointed and that they look to have 'thrown away' their hopes of overtaking Peterborough United or Hull City.
The Black Cats struck the post just moments before conceding a deflected strike, on an afternoon where they fell eight points off second and 11 points off top.
Johnson said that he felt his side had played well for large parts of the 1-0 defeat, but admitted that they did not produce enough quality in the final third.
The head coach said it would be 'extremely difficult' to now achieve automatic promotion, and said his side now needed to secure their top-six spot and 'build performances'.
"I thought we played well, If I'm honest," Johnson said.
"They started better but then I thought we had control, played some good football. We got into some great areas and let them off the hook too many times.
"Then Aiden [McGeady] cuts inside and it must be a quarter of an inch from going in. They then break, we give it away, and then bang, deflected goal.
"At that point you're looking to the skies, thinking, 'what have we done?'
"After that we huffed and puffed, they defended well and put their bodies on their line.
"We've lost three games on the spin, two of those I don't think we've deserved to lose in terms of Charlton and today. When you're losing games, those ricochets go against you.
"It's three defeats, two decent performances and one really bad one [against Wigan]," he added.
"We had to react today and we did. It looks like it's going to be extremely difficult to get into the top two which is extremely disappointing because we've put so much effort It feels like we've thrown that away a bit but we now need to secure a second chance, and build performances until then and you never know what will happen.
"I'm extremely disappointed but today those fine margins went against us."
In all three of Sunderland's defeats a common theme has been not creating enough clear chances after falling behind.
This was another game where the opposition goalkeeper was largely untroubled late on, though Luke O'Nien did have one effort cleared off the line.
Johnson admitted the quality and composure of his side has not been good enough when it mattered.
"We let them off the hook too many times when we got into good areas," he said.
"You have to give the defenders credit as well for that, I suppose. But yeah, there's examples where we've taken shots from the edge of the box where you think, 'come on, we're better than that'.
"You've got to at least hit the target, we've got the technique.
"Those are the moments we've got to capitalise on, and those things matter at this stage of the season.But I'm not going to vilify the players today because they've given everything."