Sunderland manager Steve Bruce was once again forced to lament his team's defensive frailties after watching them slump to a 2-0 defeat at Everton on Wednesday.
Goals from Tim Cahill and Landon Donovan consigned the free-falling Black Cats to their ninth winless match in a row and they have now conceded 18 goals in their last five league games.
"I seem to be like a long-playing record at the minute but it's too easy the number of goals we give away," said Bruce.
"They didn't have to do much for the goals today. A cross into our box and we haven't picked Cahill up.
"I'm not going to make any excuses. Two kicks up the pitch have cost us and we haven't defended it anywhere near the way we should do. That's been our Achilles heel of late. We just haven't - or can't - defend properly.
"The first half-an-hour was nowhere near the standard of what we need to be in the Premier League. We have to be a bit more resilient than that. We have to show better attitude than what we showed.
"We've been on an awful run but we've got back-to-back home games which will define our season."