Chris Coleman was in no mood to disguise the need for attacking reinforcements after the 4-0 defeat to Cardiff City last weekend.
"We've got to do it," he simply said.
There was no disguising his frustration on Friday morning, then, as it became clear that time had run out to secure one. He had been up late with Martin Bain and Kit Symons on Thursday night thrashing out a deal but due to the other club not being able to make a signing of their own, no progress could be made.
Sunderland will take on Hull City in a critically important game with youngsters Josh Maja and Joel Asoro as their only available strikers.
It is not ideal and an exhausted Coleman is clearly disappointed. It makes his job in the short-term more difficult but looking beyond, the Sunderland boss was anything but defeatist.
He sees some cautious room for optimism. He believes the club is backing him and is willing to invest, albeit on a limited scale. He has been buoyed by the enthusiasm from targets to make the switch and he now thinks there is a chance he could seal some permanent deals.
While he would not be drawn on the club's strong interest in the Derby County striker Chris Martin, he said that Sunderland are getting close to a breakthrough and that they would 'keep knocking on the door'.
"I won't mention names, but the deal is there," Coleman said.
"The player wants to come, but through no fault of the club we have been dealing with, they have been let down trying to bring a player in, and that meant we can't get what we want.
"It was all lined up, it's all ready, and so it's been really frustrating.
"It would have given us a boost going into this game tomorrow to have a few fresh faces in.
"We haven't been able to do it.
"It would be an easy way out for me to say I haven't had the backing, but that is not the case," he added.
"I have had 100 per cent support in trying to bring in reinforcements but we have run out of time before tomorrow.
"The club is trying to give me what I am asking for, and I can see that because I am involved in every conversation.
"It has been external, it has not been from us.
"It's not like we are not matching wages or certain criteria, we are, but these clubs have got their own issues, their own situations.
"They might say you can have that player, if we get this player. But if we're not getting that player, you can't have this player.
"That's unfortunately where we have found ourselves.
"If we are going to get away from where we are, we have to bring in a certain type of player, a certain quality.
"And again, there are other clubs who are interested as well.
"But the frustration hasn't been that players don't want to come here because of our situation, we've not found that, and that has been pleasing.
"The frustrating thing is that we have been so close, but certain clubs that we have been dealing with are not getting what they want in terms of new faces and that has stalled it somewhat."
Coleman entered the window expecting to only make loan additions and that remains his immediate priority following the arrival of Jake Clarke-Salter last week.
Money is tight this month but his forays into the market have given him hope that he could make some longer term changes to the squad.
"We have been working on some permanent deals, which is pleasing," he said.
"When I say permanent deals, we can't go out and spend millions of pounds.
"We can be cute in the transfer market, and maybe bring in one or two permanents.
"But predominantly we will be looking at loans and we need maybe another three at least, I think – hopefully more."
On outgoings, Coleman was blunt.
He has, in his words, yet to receive one 'serious' phone call and so the immediate futures of Didier Ndong and Lamine Kone are no closer to resolution.