Simon Grayson admits he was hurt by a lack of depth on the bench as his side conceded late to draw 1-1 with Hull City.
Jack Rodwell, Billy Jones and Lynden Gooch replaced Jonny Williams, Callum McManaman and James Vaughan as the Black Cats began to come under sustained pressure from the hosts.
That eventually told as a David Meyler effort was deflected past Robbin Ruiter, a fair reflection of a game in which Sunderland were excellent in the first half but faded in the second.
Grayson said: "We didn’t pass the ball or retain the ball as well as we can do [in the second half], you give the opposition credit because they’ve got some talented players. Bowen and Grosicki are probably two of the most talented players in the league and we contained them, I think we just ran out of steam, the likes of McManaman and Williams who were very effective, the week caught up with them.
"We wanted to make substitutions like for like but we didn’t have the strength in depth to do that, that was probably the thing, we wanted to be secure but I wanted the options to be a threat going forward which we didn’t quite have.
"We wanted to get the second goal and we nearly did, McGregor made a great save from McManaman, Honeyman had a two on two with Vaughan which we couldn’t take advantage of. Sometimes you see games through or win them through the bench and we just don’t have that at the moment. Give it time to get McGeady, Watmore back, those extra options will help us."
Grayson said his team showed their character against a side with a good home record.
"I’m disappointed but pleased with some elements," he said.
"Based on the first 45, 60 minutes where we were very comfortable, created some good chances, got the goal, played very well. We didn’t have too many chances against us, you know that they’re going to come out and put you under pressure, to withstand it as we did was pleasing because you see the spirit and the character.
"For all the pressure the equaliser was a deflected goal, so I'm pleased but also disappointed because if we got the second goal we could have won the game."