Sunderland boss Chris Coleman insisted they can still avoid relegation following their 1-0 defeat against QPR.
Black Cats goalkeeper Jason Steele was sent off five minutes into the second half at Loftus Road, where teenage forward Ebere Eze scored the winner just after the hour mark.
It left Coleman’s side rooted to the bottom of the Championship, four points from safety.
But Coleman said: “We’ve got to keep going. The teams around us keep dangling carrots in front of us and as long as they’re not pulling away then we have to keep going.
“If we can just get that win we can close the gap to a point. The players have got to show heart.”
Steele was red-carded after he dashed outside of his penalty area to meet Darnell Furlong’s punt forward, misjudged the bounce of the ball and then used his hand to direct it away from QPR forward Paul Smyth.
Coleman said: “To have the keeper sent off five minutes into the second half, you can easily think: ‘Here we go again. It’s never going to change’.
“We get a man sent off and then concede. But the boys didn’t buckle today in terms of their grit. We kept going until the end. It was always going to be hard for us after the sending-off.
“We lost, but we showed a bit of personality. We didn’t whimper out of this one. We were in the game all through the game.
“We are lacking confidence, but in terms of the performance and the mentality there was nothing wrong with that.”