Robbie Stockdale felt his Sunderland side got exactly what they deserved in the Checkatrade Trophy defeat to Doncaster Rovers.
The Black Cats have been knocked out at the group stage with a game to spare after Issam Ben Khemis’s 70th minute strike condemned them to a 1-0 defeat.
First team coach Stockdale, who led the side at the Keepmoat Stadium, was left frustrated with the lack of quality on show from his side, which included Jack Rodwell and Brendan Galloway.
Stockdale said: “I thought we ended up with what we deserved. We ended up with effort but ultimately a lack of quality.
“Decision-making was poor, especially first half and when we made the right decisions the execution wasn’t good enough.
“What did frustrate me after the first half, when we were poor, we changed shape and looked okay but it took me and Elliott [Dickman] to bark from the touchline to coach the game for them.
“We should be at a stage of their careers when we shouldn’t have to be doing that.”
Sunderland rarely threatened the Doncaster goal, with Marko Marosi only having one real save to make in each half.
Stockdale added: “We got into some promising positions on the counter attack but either the decision wasn’t right or the decision was but the pass wasn’t. I have no real complaints with the result.
“Ultimately we have gone out with a whimper. We have a game left and we will treat it with the utmost respect and make sure the players are right for it.”
“We have enjoyed the competition so to end with no chance of going through is a real shame.” Sunderland face Grimsby Town away in their final group game in November.