Julio Arca says Sunderland are struggling when they don't score the first goal in games.
The Black Cats fell to a 2-0 defeat against Manchester City on Sunday, despite creating the better chances in the opening stages.
They faded as Pep Guardiola's side took complete control of the game after scoring, mirroring what happened in the previous home game against Southampton.
Speaking to Made in Tyne and Wear's Football Matters show, he said: "The first half an hour, Sunderland was good, they put pressure on Man City, they created some chances, hit the post.
"But then they conceded just before half-time, every time Sunderland concede it is really hard for them to get back into the game.
"In the second half Manchester City took control, started passing the ball around, scored the second goal and you could see that it was basically over. The main thing is to keep the players motivated to carry on. I don't think it is impossible."
For the full interview watch Made in Tyne and Wear's Football Matters show tonight at 9.30pm on Sky channel 117 or Freeview channel 7 and Virgin Media channel 159. The show, which also features our very own Head of Sport Ross Gregory, is repeated on Friday at 10pm and Saturday at 10am. For those living outside the region the show is also available online at madeintyneandwear.tv