The 36-year-old saw his side slip back into the bottom three with their 1-0 defeat at Blackburn on January 2, and the mood on Wearside was not improved by Saturday's 3-0 FA Cup home defeat to Wigan.
But the Irishman insists he will act as shield for his players as they get on with the business of trying to collect precious points.
He said: "Yes of course, you have got to try to do that. But then again, players aren't daft, they know the position we are in.
"Games like the one at Blackburn are probably a lot more frustrating that losing 4-0 to United and 7-1 at Everton because they were games we were totally outplayed in.
"But you cannot keep letting these opportunities slip you by. They come back to haunt you."
However, the manager insists there can be no room for self pity and that chances must be taken.
He said: "Something has got to be done about that - and trust me, there will be.
"We have got to get the right people in with the right mentality who will take the club to the next stage.
"I have said many, many times before: getting promoted last year was the easy part; it is now getting on to the next level.
"I have had this discussion after so many games - we nearly got something.
"We nearly got something against (Manchester) City, we nearly got something against West Ham, we nearly got something at Reading, but we didn't. We nearly got something at Blackburn, but we didn't.
"It's not good enough and it will be sorted."