PHIL PARKINSON accepts Sunderland’s failure to convert their chances in this afternoon’s 2-1 defeat to MK Dons was “unacceptable” – and claims Will Grigg was the first to accept responsibility to producing one of the misses of the season.

The Black Cats lost to an MK Dons side that had gone 20 away league games without a victory prior to travelling to the Stadium of Light, and passed up a host of opportunities to add to Max Power’s deflected opener.

A series of crosses flashed across the 18-yard box without being converted, and Grigg somehow failed to score from one yard out after Lynden Gooch delivered the ball from the right.

Parkinson said: “In terms of chances in and around the six-yard box, it’s unacceptable that we haven't taken them. I think it’s fair to say that.

“You don't get gilt-edged moments like we've had and we've been having over a period of time, and expect to be at the top if you don't take them. 

“There are four or five moments today where we needed that composure to get us the goal near the six-yard box, and I'd say it's unacceptable we haven't turned those into goals. 

“I keep saying that our expected goals based on chances created is saying we should be scoring more, but we are not taking them. I have never seen so many gilt-edged chances - that has been the case in this game as well as others.”

Grigg’s miss was especially poor, with the out-of-form forward failing to prod the ball home from one yard in front of the goalline after Gooch crossed from the right.

The Northern Irishman appeared to be more concerned at avoiding a collision with MK Dons goalkeeper Andrew Fisher than prodding the ball home, and Parkinson conceded it was impossible to deny the importance of the miss.

He said: “He (Grigg) worked his socks off. He needed the game last week. Physically, I thought he was better today, but he knows (it was a bad miss). He is the first one to hold his hand up in the dressing room because he knows those chances have to be made to count.”

Sunderland’s tactics were hard to pin down for much of the game, with Gooch seeming to alternate between playing as a right wing-back and operating much higher up the field as a winger.

Parkinson says the approach was a pre-planned attempt to prevent MK Dons from being able to play out from the back.

He said: “We knew that MK Dons wanted to play out from the back, and they often start with Richard Keogh. We wanted to push Josh Scowen onto their deep-lying playmaker, and Lynden Gooch onto Dean Lewington.

“Then that pushes Jordan (Willis) onto the wing-back to force them down that side when they had the ball, and to be fair, that was fine. We knew we had to press them high and the majority of the time, we did that. 

“The first 15, 20 minutes, our quality on the ball wasn't quite there. We've had a lot of lads who've missed a lot of training recently. As the half went on, we got better in terms of our football.”