Phil Parkinson accepted his Sunderland players underperformed and looked aimless as they fell to a first home defeat of the Sky Bet League One season.
Burton recorded a deserved 2-1 win at the Stadium of Light – with the manager hounded by cries of ‘Sacked in the morning’ at the final whistle.
The Black Cats have only won twice in 11 games in all competitions since Parkinson replaced Jack Ross last month.
And the under-fire boss admitted: “It’s understandable. Conceding on 70 minutes and there’s time left, plenty of time left and didn’t show any bravery after that. You need conviction and belief and we didn’t show that.
“The FA Cup games were disappointing, this is the first home league defeat. Keeping clean sheets is an issue, you can’t keep conceding slopping goals like we did.
“It was two cheap goals, we could have dealt with the second one in the middle of our goal. In a stadium with expectation you need to give yourself a chance by believing you can keep clean sheets.
“The fans are entitled to an expectation.
“Pressure? I accept totally the reaction. For the last quarter of the game we were nowhere near good enough and if I was sat in the stand I wouldn’t accept that. Wearing the Sunderland shirt you need the courage to play and we didn’t have that.
“We looked aimless in the last spell of the game.@
The Black Cats took the lead through a 19th-minute Aiden McGeady penalty, but the Brewers levelled a minute later.
Kieran Wallace broke down the left side, taking a deft pass from Liam Boyce. His drive across goal was pushed out by keeper Lee Burge, but only as far as Ryan Edwards and he headed in from close range.
They won it after 69 minutes, as Boyce tapped in from close range when Lucas Akins rolled the ball across goal.
Brewers boss Nigel Clough said: “Delighted with the win, we were disappointed at half-time as we hadn’t played like our usual selves.
“We should have scored another with the chances we have had, but happy to win.
“Two important things – equalising straight away and then coming out second half and keeping them out. Once we got over that period.
“Sunderland’s penalty – our lads didn’t object, no calls and when that happens you tend to think it’s a right call.
“They haven’t lost that many at home so it’s a good one, it’s been coming for us and it’s important we got it tonight.
“We did well after taking the lead, we were still positive, pressed right to the 94th minute and it was important we didn’t sit back.
“It’s not a nice place for the home side on a night like this. We get 2,300 people – this is 10 times the numbers. It can be a blessing, but when it’s not going well you have to be brave and courageous to play in that kind of atmosphere and it can be difficult.”