The Canaries took the lead through Wes Hoolahan after 26 minutes but were reduced to 10 men with an hour to play when goalkeeper Mark Bunn was sent off for handling the ball outside the penalty area.
Despite their numerical advantage, the Black Cats were unable to break through the resilient Norwich defence and had to settle for a draw, much to the disappointment of Larsson.
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"We lacked confidence, if I'm completely honest. We had a lot of possession and we didn't create as many chances as we should have."
Gardner's spot kick - given against Sebastien Bassong for handball shortly before half-time, - got Sunderland back into the game, a decision which with Larsson agreed.
"I don't think the ref could do anything about that other than give a penalty, really," he argued. "Obviously, things went our way early on after their goal but we didn't capitalise and that's disappointing.
"We've got to come back [from the international break] fully focused and we've got a big job on our hands.
"This league never works out the way you think it would; that's been shown over and over again this season. We've put ourselves in this situation so we're the ones that need to get ourselves out of it."