Last Updated: Mon, 27 Feb 2012 15:25
Martin O'Neill insists there is more to come from Sunderland this season as they look to bounce back from their 4-0 defeat to West Brom
The Black Cats had won 10 of out O'Neill's 16 games in charge and went into the match at the Hawthorns buoyed by their impressive FA Cup fifth round defeat of Arsenal.
However, the Baggies had not read the script and romped home to a 4-0 win thanks to goals from Peter Odemwingie (2) James Morrison and Keith Andrews.
The defeat brought the Black Cats down to earth with a bump and was perhaps not the best pre-cursor for this weekend's Tyne-Wear derby with Newcastle.
Critics suggested that tiredness was a factor in the loss, with the long and arduous Premier League season starting to catch up with certain players.
However, O'Neill, who took full responsibility for the defeat, dismissed those claims and insists that he expects plenty more from the side between now and May.
"It's very difficult for me to come up here and criticise a group of players who have put heart and soul into the last three months," he told The Northern Echo
"Even the games we've lost, against Tottenham and Chelsea, we were always in the match, always in with a chance of getting something out of the game.
"People will say a game too far? No. We've got a third of the season left to play. Obviously it's a poor performance, the poorest we've played.
"Maybe a dose of reality might help occasionally but the club is big enough to have dreams and aspirations and wanting to do things. It was a disappointing day for everyone concerned. As manager I shoulder responsibility for it."
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