Nigel Clough says he was more encouraged by Burton Albion's performance in defeat to Sunderland than in the loss against Sheffield United eight days previously, despite a sixth successive reverse on home soil.
Late goals from James Vaughan and George Honeyman decided a big bottom-of-the-table clash as the Black Cats ran out 2-0 winners.
It means Burton are still without a point at the Pirelli Stadium since a 2-1 victory over Fulham on September 16, while Sunderland - with new manager Chris Coleman at the helm - ended their own winless wait which stretched back to mid-August in the Championship.
As they have done in a couple of their other recent home defeats, Clough's side had the better of the opening 45, with Joe Sbarra and Will Miller both asking questions on their first league starts of the campaign.
But a lack of a clinical touch at that time ultimately came back to haunt them as the Brewers were left with a frustrating sense of deja vu in front of their own fans.
"We were very much more heartened by the performance than we were against Sheffield United a week or so ago," said Clough.
"I thought we played with energy, and once again it is just that little bit of quality that we are lacking, getting into great situations and not making the most of it.
"Then you see the quality of their two crosses, one a corner and one a cross, that from the 83rd minute wins them the game.
"I thought they were very spirited - a resurgent Sunderland with a new manager.
"We talked about that a couple of weeks ago, when somebody comes in - and I think we copped for that today."
The Brewers were visibly hampered by the need to remove Miller, Sbarra and Sean Scannell in the second half.
That trio had got Albion on the front foot for the first 45, when the chances for victory came and went. The hosts struggled to impose themselves much after the break, though.
"Our situations again were in the first half, and they came out in the second half and played well," added Clough.
"Then we had a spell, and then they got on top again.
"You look as though you're going to see it out with seven minutes to go, and then he whips an absolutely brilliant corner in and it gets flicked on.
"There's not much you can do about stopping things like that, it's just very, very good play from a set-play situation.
"Joe Sbarra came off with cramp, Will Miller a tight hamstring and Sean Scannell a tight groin, and they were all the three that were playing with Marvin Sordell.
"So it is bound to disrupt things."