Martin O'Neill was gracious in defeat as he admitted that Everton were good value for their FA Cup quarter-final victory.
Sunderland earned a replay with Everton but could not capitalise on home advantage as the Merseysiders prevailed 2-0 at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday.
Nikica Jelavic broke the deadlock for the Toffees before David Vaughan inadvertently turned in another Jelavic shot to leave Sunderland with a mountain to climb.
While describing the second goal as 'cruel', O'Neill admitted that he could have few complaints about the final outcome.
"We were second best and Everton deserved to win the game," he said on Sunderland's official website.
"The second goal was cruel. Although we hadn't played very well, we were still in the game at that time but even so, I'm not sure that we did enough to warrant that.
"We built ourselves up for the game, we did very well to force the replay but we came here tonight and didn't perform well enough in the game."
He added: "The general performance was disappointing - basic things like being able to control the ball, pass it and hold it. Those things were disappointing on a big night.
"Everton deserved to win it. They are very strong with a lot of experienced players and tonight they were better than us."