David Moyes does not believe Sunderland’s 2-0 defeat to Swansea City and relegation this season has been down to a lack of effort or commitment.
The Black Cats fell to an 11th home Premier League defeat on Saturday as thousands of regulars stayed away.
The players have come in for fierce criticism in the aftermath of the game, with some not acknowledging the fans after the final whistle.
However, Moyes again insisted that quality has been the problem and that major change is needed in the coming summer.
The Black Cats boss also felt that Swansea’s comfort in possession and excellent midfield display made it hard for his players.
He said: “I would never label it on the players, but it’s ultimately got to be seen that we need to make changes of personnel to alter what we’re doing because it’s not been good enough. Because of that, we need to try and change it.
“Recently, I don’t think you could question the character and I don’t think in many of the games (you could).
“Saturday looked like that and I actually think the tactical formations of both teams made it look different.
“For Swansea, it was easier to sit back at different times and, when they had the ball, they were able to keep it and pass it in their diamond formation.
“We had a formation where, at times, we were able to keep the ball.
“In truth, I think they had three attempts at goal on target all game and they scored two.
“I think it was that we conceded a really poor first goal which made for a difficult afternoon.
“I think everyone’s aware of how much is needed.
“I think everyone’s aware it needs turning around and things altered. We’ll do everything we can to make that happen.”
The defeat was a harsh return to reality after the relatively positive mood at the KCOM Stadium last weekend, the travelling support responding to the first win since February by creating a lively atmosphere in Hull.
That did not last at the Stadium of Light, the hosts never threatening to recover from a poor early goal as Fernando Llorente beat Jordan Pickford to head home Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick.
The atmosphere inside the ground reflected the team’s flat performance, with many of the players making their final appearance at the Stadium of Light.
The Black Cats now face two daunting trips to London this week, taking on Arsenal tomorrow night before a final day clash with Champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Moyes has said it is up to the Sunderland players to make sure they are motivated for the games with nothing to play for.
He said: “I think the players should get motivated themselves personally, but after our performance the previous week, you wouldn’t think it was anything to do with motivation so we went into the Swansea game quite high off a good result and I thought we made a couple of chances, but, ultimately, the first goal makes it difficult.
“There was nothing shouted in the first 10 minutes or so when we were in the game and doing OK.”