Cape Town - Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce said his relegation-threatened side were in "big trouble" despite producing their best performance of the season in Tuesday's 1-0 Premier League defeat by Manchester City.
With fellow strugglers Bournemouth winning and Swansea City picking up a point, Allardyce, who has never been relegated as a manager, said it was a bleak night for the Black Cats.
Sunderland, who battled hard to cancel out Sergio Aguero's 16th-minute strike, are mired in 19th place with 19 points from 24 games.
"We missed too many chances and when you play a Manchester City side and have better chances than them, it shows the level of our performance," Allardyce told reporters.
"There's no result for us, the points aren't there, but the positives are. While this performance was the best since I've been here, we're in big trouble now when you look at the other results."
Sunderland play away at Liverpool on Saturday.