Sunderland's horrendous run of form in League One continued on Tuesday as they suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Blackpool.
Having been held to a 3-3 draw by Accrington Stanley last weekend, the Black Cats would have been determined to get back to winning ways at the Stadium of Light in their clash with the Tangerines.
However, a stunning strike from Blackpool winger Sullay Kaikai sealed all three points for the visitors who took a major step towards securing a play-off place in League One.
As a result of this latest setback, Sunderland have now been overtaken by Lincoln City in the third-tier standings and are still not guaranteed to finish in the top-six.
Although the Black Cats did create a number of decent opportunities during yesterday's clash, a lack of conviction combined with an impressive goalkeeping display from Chris Maxwell resulted in yet another defeat.
Making reference to the club's latest display, Sunderland manager Lee Johnson has insisted that he still believes that his side will be able to get over their recent slump and has urged his players not to feel sorry for themselves.
Speaking to the Northern Echo following the Black Cats' defeat to Blackpool, the 39-year-old said: "I've genuinely got total belief that we can peak at the right time and individuals can bring their A game.
"We can't have people sulking and feeling sorry for themselves, including me.
"Let's be honest, the opportunity is there.
"When I was standing on the touchline in that first game, and we were 11th, I'd have probably taken the position we're in now.
"We've been going so well, so no wins from seven isn't nice to hear, let me to tell you.
"But at the same time, within those seven games, there have been some good performances.
"It's my job to start earning my money now, and bring a bit of special motivation to get the boys going."
GIVEMESPORT's Joshua Cole says...
Whilst Sunderland have been able to illustrates some glimpses of promise in recent weeks, a failure to pick up points on a regular basis has resulted in them falling out of contention for automatic promotion.
Set to face Plymouth Argyle and Northampton Town next month, it is imperative that the Black Cats build up some momentum heading into the play-offs by sealing victories over these two sides.
Although Johnson is still confident that his players will be able to pick up their performance levels between now and the end of the season, he now needs to back up his words by guiding his side to success on the pitch following what has been a woeful run of form.
If the Black Cats continue to struggle, it wouldn't be at all surprising if they fail to secure a return to the second-tier via the play-offs which in turn will subject their supporters to another season of League One football.News Now - Sport News