The midfielder bemoaned a ‘terrible result’ – Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Stoke City – that left the Black Cats still deep in relegation trouble.
There had been hope that the side would build on an encouraging run of home form against the Potters, and a win would have lifted them two points above Sam Allardyce’s Crystal Palace and within two points of Middlesbrough.
Last year’s champions, Leicester, would have been within just one win.
However, individual errors put the Black Cats three goals down within 35 minutes and Rodwell admitted it was a mental battle from there on in.
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Rodwell said: “It’s a terrible result.
“We have done relatively well at home before (Saturday) and we went in to this confident.
“Three mistakes in the first half and we were 3-0 down.
“The second half, we stayed in the game but didn’t do enough to win – it was a bad performance all round.
“I am not really sure [what went wrong].
“The manager has said it is three mistakes which have killed us really.
“Suddenly you are three down on the scoreboard and it is hard from there, it is a battle.
“Mentally, when you are three down, where do you go from there? We stuck in and fought until the end and that’s all we can say.”
The frustration was understandably palpable in the Stadium of Light, with many supporters leaving their seats after Peter Crouch nodded home from close range.
Rodwell himself had a good chance to bring the deficit back to one goal in the second half, but the former Everton and Manchester City midfielder snatched at an opportunity and fired wide.
Rodwell was fully understanding of the anger in the stands, but, with safety still just one point away. he has asked them to stick with the team.
He said: “It must be tough being a fan at the moment, but stick in there.
“The lads will give it our al,l but it was a tough result.
“We all have to fight together until the end and we have been here before.
“We looked at the games coming up and we knew this was the one at home.
“We have now got a midweek game (Burnley away in the FA Cup third round replay tomorrow) and West Bromwich Albion away.
“This was the one at home, especially the way we have played at home.
“Before we knew it, though, we were 3-0 now and it is a long way back from there.
“Two wins and you are almost up to 14th, but we have to get them.
“There’s no point keep on saying it we have to do it and (Saturday) was a good chance to get the points.
“West Brom away next week and it’s another good chance to get them.”