John O’Shea says “silly errors” gave Sunderland too much to do in the defeat to Stoke City.
Sunderland fell behind to an eighth-minute goal from Joe Allen, the Stoke midfielder taking advantage of slack marking to head home from close range.
Didier Ndong had conceded possession in the build-up, with Stoke pouncing on the error to leave the Black Cats with an early mountain to climb.
Mark Hughes’ side doubled their lead just before half-time, Allen firing home from inside the penalty area after Sunderland failed to clear a corner.
O’Shea said: “You have to give yourselves the best chance to get something from games in the Premier League, away from home especially, frustrate the home team and create more chances and hit teams on the counter.
“You give yourself an uphill task conceding so early.”
Both sides went into the game searching for their first league win of the season, with Sunderland aiming to capitalise and make it difficult for their hosts.
“We were thinking if we could keep them quiet and get the crowd on their backs, but we conceded early,” added O’Shea.
“At times we were well in control, but silly errors in important positions.
“Okay, we can still recover but we haven’t recovered in time. The second goal proved a killer goal just before half-time.
“We have to look at ourselves, first and foremost and make sure we stop making those errors.
“Stoke, when they were 2-0 up, they got back into shape quickly and they were difficult to break down.
“We rode our luck too – Jordan made a couple of excellent saves to keep it at 2-0.
“We are disappointed, but we have to look at ourselves. Dust ourselves down and go again.”