David Moyes' week went from bad to worse as his Sunderland side slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Leicester City that pushed them even closer to the Premier League trapdoor.
Islam Slimani's first club goal of 2017 and his sixth Premier League strike of the season turned the match in favour of Craig Shakespeare's resurgent Foxes, who are now nine points clear of the drop zone.
Before Slimani's 69th-minute header, the visitors had given under-fire manager Moyes cause for optimism in a week in which he was widely criticised for comments made to a BBC reporter in March.
Jermain Defoe looked sharp throughout as he sought his first goal for Sunderland since February, but when the England striker fails to find the net his side lack an alternative threat and they are now without a goal in six matches.
Shakespeare's side were second best for much of the contest but Jamie Vardy lashed the ball home in the 78th minute to make it 2-0 and bury any hope Sunderland had of salvaging a draw.
Going into the game on the back of four consecutive league wins, Leicester's verve and flow in the opening stages harked back to their form during last season's title run-in, and Shinji Okazaki almost put them ahead when he flicked Demarai Gray's cross just wide of Jordan Pickford's goal after three minutes.
Sunderland set up to counter attack and Defoe whipped in a cross after 10 minutes that Sebastian Larsson would have reached had it not been for Danny Simpson's excellent defensive header.
Pickford punched Robert Huth's looping header over the crossbar five minutes later, but Sunderland began to grow in confidence as the first half unfolded and they enjoyed a spell of pressure in which both Defoe and Didier Ndong sent well-struck shots narrowly wide of the target.
Despite forcing six first-half corners and a number of promising free-kicks, the visitors failed to turn their dominance into goals, while at the other end Pickford had to make a fingertip save to deny Gray a spectacular goal on the cusp of half-time.
Sunderland continued to press after the break and Defoe attempted an audacious volley that drew a good reaction save from Kasper Schmeichel.
But Leicester still looked dangerous going forward and Huth's close-range header was prevented from reaching the bottom corner of the net by the diving Pickford.
Shakespeare sent on Marc Albrighton just after the hour mark and he was on the field for just seven minutes before breaking down the left and crossing for Slimani, who climbed above Lamine Kone and headed the ball down into the net.
Sunderland immediately went in search of an equaliser and substitute Victor Anichebe intercepted Christian Fuchs' poor clearance and crashed a shot onto the post before Defoe put the rebound into the side-netting.
The Wearsiders' frailties at the other end were apparent again, however, as Leicester doubled their lead with 12 minutes to go.
Albrighton again darted down the flank but this time he picked out Vardy, who had the time and space to take a touch before applying a finish high into the net.
Key Opta stats:
- Leicester are just the second team in Premier League history to lose five consecutive games and then immediately win five consecutive games, following Spurs between October and December 2004.
- Craig Shakespeare is the third Premier League manager to win his first five Premier League matches, following Carlo Ancelotti in 2009 and Pep Guardiola in 2016 who both won their first six.
- Sunderland have failed to score in six consecutive top-flight matches for the first time since October 1981 (a run of eight).
- The Black Cats have 20 points from 30 Premier League games this season – all 10 previous sides with this tally or fewer have been relegated at the end of the season.
- Jamie Vardy has scored five goals in five Premier League appearances under Shakespeare compared to five in 22 under Claudio Ranieri this campaign.