It is “unacceptable” that Sunderland are harming their promotion chances by feeling sorry for themselves amid their poor run of form. 

That is according to Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips, speaking exclusively to Football Insider ahead of the Black Cats’ clash with Plymouth tomorrow.

After Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat to Blackpool, a dejected Lynden Gooch told Sunderland’s media team: “it’s just the way things are for us at the moment.”

Lee Johnson’s side are on a seven-match winless run and that defeat mathematically ended their hopes of automatic promotion from League One.

Sunderland must now concentrate on securing the point they need from their last two matches to seal a playoff spot.

Phillips lamented Sunderland’s diabolical form but insisted that Gooch and company cannot let their heads drop at a key moment.

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He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “You can’t start feeling sorry for yourself. It is what it is, and they only have themselves to blame.

“It isn’t worth giving up. You can’t physically give up in football matches

“They are disappointed that they didn’t get the job done when they were in such a strong position but they can’t get down.

“Mathematically, they could still fail to make the playoffs if they have a little bit of a disaster in the next two games and teams around them do well.

“All they can do is concentrate on the Plymouth game at the weekend. But they need to secure that point and get in the playoffs.

“If they don’t go up this year it’s four years in League One. That’s unacceptable.”

Sunderland’s string of poor results came off the back of a run of just one defeat in 19 outings.

They missed out on the playoffs last campaign, confining them to a third season in the third-tier.

In other news, Sunderland join the race for in-demand striker.