David Moyes insists his team are "not a million miles away" from safety despite witnessing Sunderland hit rock bottom again.
The Black Cats are propping up the top flight again after Swansea move above them and out of the bottom three by winning 3-2 at Liverpool.
Sunderland would have escaped the drop zone themselves had they shocked West Brom, but the Baggies were deserved winners through first-half stunners by Darren Fletcher and Chris Brunt.
The away side were booed off at half and full times though many fans remained to applaud the players who thanked the red and white army for their support.
"I totally understand," said Moyes when asked about the unhappy fans.
"I'm a supporter myself, maybe if we had three points more we might be where people would expect us to be.
"We are not that far away.
"Sunderland fans have been in this position before - they have seen the team further away [from safety] before.
"If any fans know about this situation it is our supporters in recent years."
Results, with the exception of the obvious one - Swansea winning 3-2 at Anfield - were not bad for Sunderland.
Crystal Palace's poor run went on with a 1-0 home defeat to Everton, Middlesbrough lost to West Ham at the Riverside and Watford, by no means safe from the relegation scene, pegged back 2-2 at Bournemouth.
"We are not a million miles away from being in a better place," added Moyes.
"Had we won we'd have been out of the bottom three.
"I think the disappointing this is the fact our performances in the last couple of matches have not been as good as we'd like.
"We are the first to admit that, but there are mitigating circumstances for that."
A crippling injury list and the absence of three players at the Africa Cup of Nations are the circumstances he referred to but added that one victory could be a turning point and believes the effort remains strong.
"Winning is the big thing," said Moyes, whose side are next in action a week on Tuesday at home to Spurs.
"We passed the ball quite well in the second half, we were trying to find the way
"We couldn't get it but we kept going."