Two goals from Steven Fletcher followed Connor Wickham's opener at the Stadium of Light as the hosts picked up their first Premier League win of the season.
Charlie Adam had initially cancelled out Wickham's effort but the visitors' defending left much to be desired as Hughes' men continued to show their inconsistent side.
Having seen his side impress during Monday's 1-0 win over Newcastle United, Hughes had no complaints over Stoke's defeat on Wearside.
"[It was] not great from us today to be honest, we didn't really defend correctly or with any kind of purpose in that opening period," the Welshman explained.
"As a consequence we gave up two really easy goals. Sunderland, to their credit, were able to win the game quite comfortably.
"We didn't ask enough questions of them - they've probably had three strikes on goal and scored three goals.
"Really we didn't create enough ourselves. At 1-0 down you want a response, and we got one, getting back on level terms.
"But then we allowed ourselves to concede another poor goal from our point of view."
Stoke have taken only eight points from their opening seven games and have yet to record back-to-back league wins this term, much to Hughes' lament.
"This was a good opportunity to build on what we did on Monday when we played really well. We want to be viewed as a consistent team at this level," he added.
"This was an opportunity to further make a statement in that regard so we're disappointed because we can do a lot better than we did today.
"That pretty much sums it up."
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