Returning winger Carlos Edwards admitted Sunderland got exactly what they deserved after slipping to a third successive defeat at the Stadium of Light.
Valon Behrami's lone strike handed West Ham a 1-0 win on Sunday and three precious points as the Black Cats passed up a series of opportunities and as a result, slipped to within two places and as many points of the Premier League's relegation zone.
Roy Keane's men retained their top-flight status last season mainly as a result of what they did on home soil, where they amassed 30 of the 39 points which eased them into 15th place.
This time around, they have managed just seven from a possible 21 to date with Liverpool, Manchester City, Portsmouth and now the Hammers having left Wearside with all the spoils.
Bolton will head across the Pennines next Saturday for what is now a must-win game for Sunderland with a trip to Manchester United to come a week later, although Edwards for one knows they will need to raise their standards significantly once again after yesterday's disappointment.
He said: ''We played some good football at times, but I didn't think we deserved to get anything from the game.They took their chance and we didn't, so we get zilch.
''We are scrapping for points and we gave away three of them. There is still a lot more to come from the guys and hopefully it comes sooner rather than later so we can go on the run we really need.''
Behrami's winner came 20 minutes into a first half in which the home side might have had the points wrapped up with Djibril Cisse going close, but not close enough, on several occasions.
Swiss midfielder Behrami was guilty of a glaring miss in injury-time, when he hit the bar from point-blank range, but the expected home onslaught never really materialised after the break with central defenders Matthew Upson and James Collins handling everything Sunderland could throw at them.
Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola said: ''They were outstanding. We knew we were going to have problems because they have [Kenwyne] Jones, who is very good with his head, and Cisse also, and they are very good playing off each other.
''We knew it was vital to defend properly, and they were outstanding. I don't think they lost one challenge. They were absolutely perfect, but the whole team supported them very much.''
Keane has spent in excess of £70million on players since his arrival at the Stadium of Light in August 2006, and while there is little doubt his squad is much stronger than the one he inherited, some of the old failings remain.
The Wearsiders, despite the addition of Cisse and Jones, simply do not score enough goals, piling added pressure on their defenders who know any error could be fatal.
Edwards' recall from his loan spell at Wolves was an attempt by Keane to address that problem.
The 30-year-old winger played a significant role in helping the club back into the Premier League following his £1.4million switch from Luton Town in January 2007.
Injury wrecked the last campaign for him and he had played only a supporting role before his departure for Molineux early last month.
However, his time in the Coca-Cola Championship has proved fruitful, and he is now hoping he can make a difference back in the big time.
Edwards said: ''Being back here is absolutely wonderful for me, and seeing the manager still has me in his plans.
''I really hope Wolves continue on a positive course, but this is my club - it's where I want to be. I was only on loan to get my sharpness, and now the manager has seen fit to bring me back.
''If he didn't need me, he might have left me there for the duration of the loan. It was a surprise to get the call to come back. I have missed it here.
''I needed to go away to get the fitness and sharpness that I was lacking in pre-season. I have a point to prove this time round. I was lacking in my performances.
''The fans know my capability and the manager knows my capability. I think the manager did me a favour sending me on loan. I'm back here and raring to go.''