Kieran Richardson insists Sunderland will strive for consistency following their Carling Cup heartache to Aston Villa on Tuesday.
The Black Cats were hoping to bounce back from their weekend defeat to Birmingham in the league, but went out of the cup on penalties thanks to Brad Guzan's heroics.
Sunderland missed a late penalty from Kenwyne Jones to settle the game while Richardson himself missed a one-on-one chance with Guzan to break the deadlock in extra-time.
Guzan was the hero for Villa in the penalty shoot-out and Richardson is hoping Sunderland have more luck on their side when they take on struggling West Ham this weekend.
Richardson believes Sunderland are still going through a transition period following Steve Bruce's arrival and his numerous signings and that the team will only get better the more they play together.
Hard to take
"We played well and didn't take our chances, which is hard to take," he told the Sunderland Echo.
"We stepped up a gear compared to the Birmingham game and that is what the gaffer wanted.
"The defence was really solid and the players in the dressing room were gutted afterwards.
"Hopefully we get better reward and beat West Ham on Saturday.
"Villa are a good side, but so are we. I think we can go man for man with any team in the Premier League.
"We're a good unit now; the gaffer has brought some good players in.
"We're only nine or ten games in, but I think we look a good team and the more experience we get playing together we'll win more games."