The Black Cats succumbed to Christian Benteke's strike after just 22 seconds of the second half, after producing a spirited display in the first half of the game at the Stadium of Light.
"The effort, organisation and commitment were fine," he said.
"Wes (Brown) came in and did a fantastic job for us; he used his experience with John and Younes out. We lost Jack Rodwell to a hamstring injury and then Seb Coates, so everything has gone against us again.
"We have to keep looking to change our luck ourselves, and we do that by continuing to believe in ourselves, work as hard as we did tonight and provide the right sort of quality in front of the opposition goal."
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