WEST BROMWICH, England (AP) — Conceding poor goals has become a "disease" for Sunderland, manager David Moyes said after his team dropped to the bottom of the Premier League with a 2-0 loss to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
Darren Fletcher and Chris Brunt were on target for West Brom with superb strikes but Moyes felt both goals were avoidable.
"Our overall level of play wasn't so bad, even in the first half, but we are giving away goals and goals change matches," Moyes said. "We played better in the second half but, and I've said it before recently, we're giving poor goals away at the moment.
"We are doing everything we can to stop it from happening but it's a disease we've got at the moment. You've got to press players and put your body in where it hurts sometimes, put your face in there if needs be and hope you'll get dangerous play."
Moyes' team had started well, without ever troubling Ben Foster in the West Brom goal. But it all started to go wrong for Sunderland just before the half hour as West Brom applied some pressure for the first time.
Sunderland survived when Salomon Rondon's goal-bound header hit teammate Matty Phillips inside the six-yard box and the ball deflected inches wide. But the Baggies went ahead in the 30th minute when Fletcher brilliantly brought the ball down on his chest inside the box and sent a volley beyond Vito Mannone.
Rondon saw another goal-bound shot blocked, this time by Sunderland defender John O'Shea, but the visitors were rocking and they were soon two goals behind. Nacer Chadli's strike hit the crossbar before Mannone denied Phillips once more, but Brunt pounced on the rebound to crash home a volley from the edge of the penalty area in the 36th.
Despite a ninth defeat in 11 Premier League away matches this season, Sunderland is only three points adrift of safety.
West Brom stayed eighth after a fifth win in six home matches.
"You've got to give credit to Sunderland because they could have thrown the towel in but they had a right go in the second half and made it difficult for us," West Brom manager Tony Pulis said. "We're really pleased at the moment but we need to make sure we keep our feet on the ground and keep working as hard as we did today."