Kenwyne Jones scored the goal for the Black Cats but was later forced off with an injury.
Adam Johnson secured a late equaliser for City.
“I think we’ve got to say it’s a fair result overall, but when you get so close, obviously it’s disappointing,” he said.
“The injury to Kenwyne disrupted us. We lost him through injury, that’s the story of our season so far. We’ve lost too many through injury.”
He added: “We are a threat with (Darren) Bent and Jones up front and he has been playing some of the best football I have seen since I’ve been here.
“It has disrupted us and when you get so close – I think it’s 10 points we have lost this season late on – it’s hard to take.”