Sunderland interim boss Mike Dodds labelled their 5-1 defeat 'unacceptable' and admitted Blackburn Rovers were worthy winners.

Rovers took the Black Cats apart in front of their own fans with four goals in a sensational 26-minute spell. From Sam Szmodics' opener, Rovers had the game sewn up before the hour-mark.

Having started brightly, Sunderland fell to piece after conceding the first goal and showed no signs of responding. Rovers tore them apart and the scoreline didn't flatter them.

Dodds pulled no punches with his post-match assessment, admitting that some harsh words had been shared at the full-time whistle.

VERDICT: Eustace's Rovers' messages vindicated by Sunderland rout

He conceded Rovers were deserved winners and the results could have been far worse for his side, in truth.

"It's a bad result and an even worse performance," Dodds said.

"It's completely unacceptable and I don't say that lightly. That's probably the best word I can find. It's a game we've got to use to demonstrate to this young group that one week you think you've cracked it, and 48 hours later you're completely humbled. I'm really, really angry. It's a completely unacceptable performance.

"We can use the turnaround in games as an excuse but there's no excuse for that. We felt sorry for ourselves, there was a huge amount I didn't like both in and out of possession, Blackburn were deserved winners and I don't like saying that on our own patch. 

"As head coach, I have to take responsibility for it, when they're back in for training there are going to be some uncomfortable conversations but they need to be had if we're to move forward. 

"The players haven't had much of a chance to talk in there, they're under no illusions as to my thoughts: if they want to play for this football club then they're going to have to deliver a better performance than that. If they don't, they won't play."