Simon Grayson said his players have to take responsibility for their decision making after yet another home defeat and set piece goal.
Grayson, who admits his position will be under scrutiny with his side second bottom of the league, was left bemoaning yet another frustrating afternoon on Wearside.
Bobby Reid scored the opener at the back post, almost a carbon copy of the sequence that saw Idrissa Sylla score for QPR in the last home game at the Stadium of Light.
Grayson said: "You are sitting here again, saying the same things after every defeat this season. We are making bad decisions, not taking responsibility when the players go on the pitch and gifting the opposition the opportunity to win the game.
"We talk about the first goal at home being crucial for us and we haven't been able to do that this season so far.
"The player who is 5ft 7" gets a free header in the box. On Friday we had a team meeting to go through the set pieces, same again today before the game.
"Who they are supposed to mark and we shoot ourselves in the foot and it deflates everybody when the first goal goes in," he added.
"Up to then I thought we were slightly the better team without showing a great deal of quality given the difficult conditions.
"We got a break and wanted to go on and impose ourselves but decision making and responsibility making from the players was poor."
Sunderland managed to get back on level terms just before half-time but played poorly in the second half, mustering just two shots in the final ten minutes of the game.
Bristol City were comfortable and well worth their three points.
Grayson said: "We had a real boost and had to get on the front foot and do better but again we kept making bad decisions, when opportunities was there to run the ball they passed without any real quality.
"When it was on to pass quickly, we ran into bodies. We do the preparations for players and talk through everything but when they have to take responsibility and stand up and be counted at times."
"When we had the sucker punch of the second goal going in, we were in possession of the ball more then, we then for the last 15 minutes huffed and puffed without being effective.
"We lost the shape of the team. That was not ideal, they have to carry out the gameplan of what we keep asking them to do. It comes down to responsbility."
The Black Cats boss admits that the game against Bolton Wanderers, who took a point away to Fulham to further reduce the gap at the bottom of the table, is crucial.
He said: "I am under no illusions that we need to start winning football matches very quickly. If we give the opposition chances and free opportunities to win a game then we will make it very difficult for ourselves.
"Our prep quickly turns to Tuesday knowing the next two games we need to get some positivity around the place."