The Tigers would have drawn level with 17th-placed West Ham with a win in their game in hand against Aston Villa last night but instead they slumped to a 2-0 defeat.
Hampered by a vastly inferior goal difference, Hull know they must win two of their last three games to have any chance of staying in the top flight for a third successive season.
Defeat at home to Sunderland on Saturday coupled with a West Ham win over Wigan would effectively relegate Dowie's side, but he is retaining a positive focus.
"I choose to say we've got to win the game," he said.
"But we are running out of games. Saturday is a must-win."
Dowie has failed to lift Hull's form since replacing Phil Brown last month, winning only one of his six matches in charge.
The former Crystal Palace and Coventry boss, though, insists there can still be a silver lining.
"When we came here it was one win in 17 games, if we get two wins in seven games that's a turnaround so let's make sure we take care of our business," he continued.