Sam Allardyce admits that Sunderland have made “life extremely difficult” for themselves by piling the pressure on tomorrow night’s visit of sinking Crystal Palace.
Last week, Allardyce claimed that Sunderland needed to come away with at least a four-point haul from three games squeezed into an eight-day period.
But Sunderland came away empty-handed from the first of that triple-header at Allardyce’s former club West Ham on Saturday after proving to be their own worst enemies with their awful finishing.
That has put the spotlight on tomorrow’s clash against a Palace side, who have taken just one point from their last eight Premier League encounters.
Allardyce said: “We could have made life extremely difficult for ourselves going forwards.
“We might not play as well tomorrow night, we might not be able to take the pressure or create the chances we did at West Ham.
“Hopefully we won’t, but losing out at West Ham is something that’s very difficult to take.
“With the position we’re in, it was imperative that we came away with at least a result.
“You have to be encouraged by the performance.
“The team has shown the spirit and a lot more quality in the last few weeks.
“The new players have bedded in really well, but to not have a result at the end of that, is a big blow for us.
“The bottom line is that they’ve not punished the opposition and at this level, you can’t afford to waste those opportunities.”
Allardyce received an apathetic reaction from home fans on his return to Upton Park, despite taking the Hammers from the Championship and stabilising them in the Premier League during his four years at the club.
Victory for the hosts sent them back into the top six, but kept Sunderland confined to the drop zone, a point adrift of fourth-bottom Norwich and third-bottom Newcastle, who now boast a game in hand.
“When you’re in charge of another team, you’ve got to be professional and try to get a result against your old club, however much you enjoyed the time there, as I did,” said Allardyce.
“For us, a positive result was much more important than West Ham. They’ve been safe for a long time and had a good season.
“But for us not to get anything is a massive disappointment.
“Whatever team I’d played, I couldn’t have asked it to play any better.
“But to not convert any chances and get a result is a real concern for me.”
It wasn’t just the missed opportunities from Jermain Defoe and Jack Rodwell (twice) which were at the root cause of Sunderland’s defeat in the East End.
Michail Antonio grabbed the only goal of the game in the first half after a botched clearance from Patrick van Aanholt, before the Hammers winger then ghosted past the left-back far too easily to get his shot away.
“Let’s face it, we’ve gifted them the goal,” added Allardyce. “It was a good finish, but we could have got rid of it, but didn’t.
“If we’d got a clean sheet, we’d have been reflecting on a 0-0.
“But, at the other end, we have done enough to get over it and get a result.
“We haven’t put the ball in the back of the net after 10 attempts on goal in the second half.”