David Moyes acknowledged his Sunderland side must improve “in all areas” after they were beaten 2-0 at fellow strugglers Stoke City.
Sunderland are yet to win a Premier League game this season, and their latest disappointment was sealed by half-time at bet365 Stadium on Saturday as in-form Joe Allen struck a brace.
And former Manchester United manager Moyes was frustrated at the ease with which the Welsh international scored his double.
“We did some good things, but conceded a terrible goal for the first,” Moyes said.
“We played better than we had done in recent games, but we had to make sure we got to half-time at 1-0 down. We stuck at it in the second half, we tried but it wasn’t to be.
“We need to get better in all areas. But what I’ve seen in training recently tells me we’re getting there, especially with our work on the ball.
“It was an inexperienced team out there, but we’re trying to get them better – we’re working on them.”
Captain John O’Shea agreed with his manager’s appraisal, reiterating that the second goal – in first-half stoppage time – was a blow to their hopes of garnering a result.
“It’s always going to be difficult in the Premier League, but we didn’t help ourselves with the goals we conceded,” he said.
“If we’d gone into half-time at 1-0, we felt maybe we could create some chances in the second half. But at 2-0, it was too much to claw back.”