SUNDERLAND manager Chris Coleman admits he is growing increasingly concerned at his side’s inability to deal with setbacks during a game.

On Tuesday, Coleman watched his side concede after a reasonably bright start at Birmingham, with a second opposition goal coming on the stroke of half-time.

The same thing happened again this afternoon, with Sunderland conceding a 35th-minute opener to Ipswich’s Joe Garner and shipping a second goal in first-half stoppage time as Adam Matthews put the ball through his own net.

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Sunderland’s 2-0 defeat leaves them mired in the Championship relegation zone, and Coleman admits his players have to start developing a stronger mind-set that will enable them to cope with going behind.

“It was the second game running where we conceded a minute before half-time, but it is what it is and we are where we are,” said the Black Cats boss. “When we go a goal behind, we just don’t come back. That’s a worry because we’re not always going to go 1-0 up. There’s only us can change that.

“I didn’t have a complaint in the first half an hour, but we didn’t recover from the all-important first goal. It’s the second goal, seconds before half-time, incredible.

“For us to concede like that knocks the life out of you. In the second half, we tried but we looked naïve in certain situations.”

Coleman was disappointed with the way in which Sunderland conceded their goals, although he did feel his side should have had a penalty midway through the second half.

Jonas Knudsen appeared to block George Honeyman’s right-wing cross with his arm, but referee Darren England failed to award a spot-kick.

“With 25 minutes to go, it’s got to be a penalty,” he said.  “It’s handball. If he was two or three yards away, you might say he couldn’t get his hands out of the way. But that wasn’t the case.”

Nevertheless, Coleman accepts his side will be unable to haul themselves out of the bottom three unless their defending improves.

“We’ve shown some good stuff to build on, but we’ve got to stop gifting teams goals because we never get easy goals ourselves,” he said. “Otherwise, we’re never going to get away from where we are.”

Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy was able to celebrate only his side’s second win in their last nine matches, and insists there was no room for sentiment despite his former club’s current plight.

“I have no sympathy for anybody, regardless of who I or my teams play against, and I’ve always been the same,” said McCarthy.

“We all want to win for our team. I am sad to see the plight this club is in and I know how hard it is to turn around. I had it myself when I was here. It’s like trying to turn round an oil tanker with a canoe paddle in your hand.”