Daryl Murphy’s late winner condemned Sunderland to their fourth-straight defeat – but Simon Grayson has backed his players to turn the season around.
Sunderland – without a home win since mid-December – have just five points from their opening seven Championship games but Grayson has faith in his squad.
The Black Cats produced a much improved display compared to the dismal showing against Sheffield United but their lack of attacking threat again came back to bite, Murphy capitalising on a Tyias Browning mistake.
“It is probably the most frustrating result we have had, we didn’t deserve to lose that game,” said Grayson.
“The players responded from Saturday and showed bravery with and without the ball as we’d asked them to do.
“It was a big kick in the teeth to lose a game like that. We didn’t get the breaks in the 18-yard box and the one mistake we make we get punished for.
“That can happen when you are losing games.
“There was a lot of positive signs from the team, I was happy with the response from Saturday.
“Sometimes in this position you don’t get the breaks but that will change very quickly, I am very confident in this group of players. They showed what they can do.
“100 per cent things can change quickly. I have just seen the table and a win Saturday can take you up to halfway up the division.
“Anybody can beat anybody on a single day. It is a 46-game season, a long hard slog. We have had key players missing, we will get them back and it will make us a stronger squad.”
Defeat to Forest was crushing given it happened so late, Grayson, though, was determined to take the positives.
He added: “The players are more disappointed than recently because they know they didn’t deserve that but they have to remain positive and take the positives.
“There were some good individual performances, the players didn’t go missing.”
The Sunderland boss thanked the home support for sticking with the side, just days after the players were accused of not being fit to wear the shirt.
The crowd dipped to just over 26,000 inawful conditions, but Grayson said their support was fantastic.
He added: “The one big factor is when the supporters are staying with the team right to the end.
“Saturday they were critical and didn’t see the effort and commitment the fans wanted but against Forest you could see the supporters were really with the team and that is a credit to them.”
Sunderland travel to Hull City on Saturday but Grayson insists it isn’t a relief to be playing away from the Stadium of Light.
He added: “Not really. You saw the team playing with confidence.
“They passed the ball, there was some good stuff.
“McManaman will feel better after his 70 minutes, Williams looked a talented player, Honeyman too.
“We will get better. You don’t expect things to happen overnight in terms of restoring confidence to the full level.
“When players are not as confident sometimes they don’t take that extra risk.”
Sunderland travel to Hull City on saturday for a Championship game.