"Sunderland were better than us on the night," McLeish told the club's official website after the 2-0 defeat.
"In the first half there was nothing in it apart from us again conceding a soft goal which is a little bit galling, particularly considering the work we've tried to put in to try and prevent them.
"There's certainly work for us to do on the training ground because our decision making was not at its best tonight for both goals.
"We've given Sunderland a gift early on when I thought we'd contained them pretty well with the threat of the high ball to Kenwyne Jones.
"We also needed a wee bit of inspiration going the other way but it just wasn't there tonight, although I'm sure there's plenty to come from the players."
"There's 14 games to go and 42 points to play for and we've got to try and get as many points as we can as quickly as we can.
"The players are in that dressing room gutted with the way they lost the game."