Tony Mowbray thinks Sunderland still have to get used to playing at the Stadium of Light against teams looking to frustrate their attacking style of play.
The Black Cats boss reflected on a disappointing day for his side when Cardiff defended well to pave the way for Mark McGuinness to head in an 87th-minute winner.
That was enough to lift the Bluebirds up to seventh in the Sky Bet Championship courtesy of a third win in a row but the result halted Sunderland’s impressive run.
Mowbray’s side were looking for a fourth successive win but instead McGuinness’ winner ended a five-match unbeaten run.
Cardiff set up to make things difficult for Sunderland from the start and along with some good defending, goalkeeper Jak Alnwick made a string of fine saves.
Mowbray said: “We shouldn’t be too disappointed, they gave it a real go. We found it last year, teams will come and defend here, get men behind the ball and they were very resilient.
“We have have to find that extra bit of quality. It felt like we dominated the game, and it could have been a nice 1-0 win for us.
“I didn’t think Cardiff looked like winning the game but they have nicked one in the end. It’s frustrating for us.
“There was lots of good stuff from us in the right areas, but maybe the final pass, that final ricochet, wasn’t there. Cardiff managed to block a few second half and we will give them credit, they came with a game-plan and we didn’t manage to break it down.
“We had the ball a lot and yet we didn’t find a way to score today. We had lots of moments and I am sure had we found that extra touch we would have scored and won the game.”
After a slow start to the season Cardiff are finding their feet under former Fenerbahce manager Erol Bulut, who took over in June.
And he is convinced the players are starting to understand his demands after another hard-working display that earned its rewards.
Bulut, who revealed the absent Aaron Ramsey was ill, said: “It was a great win, but first congratulations to Sunderland who have one of the best teams in the league. They have a good future ahead of them. It was not easy to have this victory for us.
“Sometimes you have to fight to win and score one goal and this time it got us a victory. We got the chance and we finalised it. We got the corner, there was great fight, and we scored from it.
“You could see the first games we had in the league, where we were leading and we lost points. Concentration was not how I wanted it. But we have trained, spoken about it, had individual meetings, and the last few weeks have been better.
“It’s still not perfect, and football is a mistakes game, so we tried not to make mistakes in the defence and we were in the right position to win.
“We have three wins now and we have to stay calm. I am a manager who tries to give maximum, take maximum and ask for the maximum. If we get those we will get rewards.”