Sunderland boss delivers verdict on Hull City draw and insists his squad can win promotion
Lee Johnson says Sunderland's injury crisis at the back has caught up with them after they were twice pegged back by Hull City.
Sunderland took the lead through Jordan Jones and then Grant Leadbitter in what was an enterprising first-half display.
Hull City responded strongly and their second equaliser was virtually a reprise of their first.
Mallik Wilks twice was given far too much space to cut inside and cross from the right flank, with Josh Magennis able to convert a header from close range.
Wilks was a constant threat down Sunderland's left flank, but Johnson was reluctant to attribute any individual blame until he has been able to study the goals more closely.
He did say that he believes fatigue and injuries are having an impact, and praised Hull's quality in exploiting it.
Sunderland hit the bar through substitute Aiden O'Brien late on, but the hosts did have a number of good opportunities through the second period.
"I think we dominated most of the game, of course they have threats and we had to respect that," Johnson said.
"They have quality and power.
"We've given it a go right until the end and I think that reflects our attitude towards the game and what we're trying to do.
"Hull carry a threat and we've got players at the moment that are like polyfilla.
"It's difficult with the goals until I watch them back to be honest, there are many things that lead towards a goal and it's often a domino effect.
"At times, to be honest, I think you're going to get that with two midfielders in a back four.
"Those lads have done extremely well for the most part and Bailey has done really well to hang in there, he's been out for two months and has had to be slammed straight into three games in about twelve days."
Sunderland have now gone five games without a win at the crucial stage of the season, but Johnson insists that performances by and large have been relatively consistent.
He says his squad must believe that they are good enough to get over the line, even if that means in a play-off campaign as now seems likely.
"I'm objective about our performances, almost to an obsession," Johnson said.
"In those three losses, in two of those we haven't deserved to lose. It's hard to say that after a loss because people don't want to hear it but at the same time. the performances weren't bad.
"We knew we dropped below our standards against Wigan, we accepted that.
"If you look at a period of eighteen or nineteen games, to let ourselves down once, that can happen.
"It was important that we maintained our belief today and I think we've got to trust the philosophy, our training and also we've got to believe that these boys are good enough to take us where we want to be.
"There are still margins to improve.
"It's that aura and pitch personality that I think in three or four of our players can still come out more."