Sunderland manager Steve Bruce admits that his side got their 'backsides well and truly kicked' in a humiliation at Manchester City in the Premier League.
The Stadium of Light outfit were hammered 5-0 at Eastlands to ensure they have taken just one point from the last 21 available and are just six away from the relegation zone.
Bruce acknowledges that Sunderland deserved to lose and he has confessed that the thrashing simply added to his recent disappointments rather than causing a shock to his system.
He told Sky Sports 1: "We were certainly nowhere near good enough. We were second best all afternoon all over the pitch.
"You can say Manchester City were very, very good, but in a lot of positions we were nowhere near where we should be and we've certainly got to do better than we were today.
"We responded when we had a setback at Newcastle a few months ago and we've got to do the same thing again.
"The performance disappointed me more than it surprised me but I don't want to make excuses - we were simply second best in every department. We got our backsides well and truly kicked."
Asked if the January sale of striker Darren Bent to Aston Villa has halted the progress of a team who previously had eyes on Europe, Bruce said: "You can look at all sorts of stuff.
"Statistically, when you look at it, of course. But it's no good looking at what's happened in the past.
"We've got to pull our socks up and look forward to the challenge of the last seven games."
Sunderland have 38 points after 31 matches and manager Bruce is aware it is not enough to avoid relegation.
He said: "We haven't got enough points in the bag, not when you see it.
"We are six points (above the relegation zone) and there are seven games to go. We have been on a horrific run.
"We have played some of the top six and we have found it very difficult with a half-fit squad, but that is not to make excuses. We have to arrest that."