Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew acknowledged that his team failed in their efforts to unlock Sunderland's defence at Selhurst Park on Monday.
The home side had more of the ball throughout the game, but failed to pose much of an attacking threat and paid the price when Jermain Defoe scored an 80th-minute winner.
Sam Allardyce's five-man backline worked a treat for Sunderland and Pardew admits his players should have done more to find a way through.
"Sunderland set their stall out and there was no mystery to what they did," he told Sky Sports.
"It is five at the back, three in front and they didn't really move much. We just couldn't find a way to unlock what was a deep defence and a deep midfield.
"We overdid it a little bit in certain areas. We should have been more clean and clinical in the final third and we would have created more chances.
"They asked us questions we needed to answer if we are going to go forward and evolve into a different type of team. We struggled - it just didn't happen.
"I just didn't think we hurt them enough and we couldn't get in behind. The longer it went on the more belief Sunderland got.
"Bakary Sako created a great couple of moments but unfortunately he pulled his hamstring and that was disappointing as well, so it was one of those nights when nothing really went for us."
Pardew felt defender Scott Dann was outfoxed by some clever play from veteran striker Defoe for the winning goal.
He continued: "Jermain is always going to be a threat and that threat got them the win in the end when Scott Dann just miscalculated in taking Jermain out of the ball.
"He checked his run and that is what an old smart striker like Defoe can do."
Palace's next game is against Pardew's former club Newcastle United, who the manager does not expect to play in the same way as their north-east rivals.
"You would expect Newcastle to be a little bit more ambitious than Sunderland, so it might be slightly different," he added.