Sunderland head coach Dick Advocaat felt his side were extremely unfortunate to come away empty handed from Sunday’s 1-0 Premier League loss to Tottenham.
Former Spurs striker Jermain Defoe hit the post in the first half and Sunderland looked good value for at least a point at the Stadium of Light, only to see their hopes dashed when Ryan Mason scored eight minutes from time.
Advocaat – whose side remain winless in the league and slumped to the foot of the table – was encouraged by what he saw, but did admit his some of his players ran out of steam in the closing stages as the visitors finished as the stronger side.
“I am disappointed with the result, but not in the way we played,” he said. “I think we could see a big difference in the approach of our team.
“We had the better chances at the start. The speed from both sides was unbelievable and at the end you could see that some players in my team who still need match fitness were a little bit out of physical shape and they scored at the right time.
“We had to score a goal, but it was not to be. We are playing a very good side like Spurs with good individuals so the few chances you get you have to score a goal out of that to make it easier for yourself.
“One point would have been a good result and I think we deserved to get more than nothing – but you don’t always get what you deserve.
“I said to the players you have to take the positive things out of it. If you keep this spirit it will get you points.”
The 67-year-old rued the first-half miss from Defoe, which he thought would have changed the outcome of the match had it been converted.
“It was a beautiful pass from Jeremain Lens and a great run from Defoe and if you score that goal it gives you a lift against a good side,” continued Advocaat.
“Defoe works his socks off and he needs a bit of luck like they had with the end. But if you keep going this way and creating your chances when you have players who can do something like Lens, Fabio [Borini] and [Ola] Toivonen then that gives me a good feeling.
“I read they had outplayed their opponents up until now, even Manchester United – but they did not outplay us.
“Even after the game the crowd was very positive and I appreciate that. I think they liked the way we played, it was an attractive way of playing.”