Under-pressure Roberto Martinez praised his side's "effort and intent" - despite going down 3-0 to a rampant Sunderland.
Patrick van Aanholt's free-kick was followed by a brace from Lamine Kone as Sunderland threatened to run riot at the Stadium of Light.
But despite his side being on the end of a convincing defeat, Martinez - whose job is under increasing pressure - was keen to highlight the positives.
When asked if it was a disappointing night all round, Martinez: "I wouldn't say the performance.
"I think the result was a very tough one for us to take, we started the game really, really well.
"We got into a phase and kept the ball well but didn't have a threat.
"We were a little bit slow and pedestrian but the effort and intent was there in a very competitive game.
"The first goal is a disappointing action from us. Joel [Robles] tried to read the ball and then another goal from a corner.
"We never gave up though - Sunderland were very efficient in front of goal.
"Luck plays a big part, the second goal shows that. The scoreline is tough to take. We didn't take our chances late on.
"We couldn't get anything in the scoreline but we fought for every ball and put a lot of effort in."
When asked if his players were fighting for him, Martinez added: "100 per cent.
"What we are focusing on now is the game on Sunday and to try and get a winning feeling.
"All you have to do is prepare the next game and look to win the game.
"The players gave everything they had. That wasn't in question.
"Joel is a very responsible footballer and has been in good form. He was down about it but we wanted to start the second half and get back into the game.
"Since the semi-final of the FA Cup it has been difficult to get the good play. Sunderland were fully focused and created a really good momentum.
"We congratulate them. The big difference was in the box."