David Moyes admitted Sunderland are facing another relegation battle this season after watching his side lose 2-1 at home to Middlesbrough.
A depleted Black Cats side have now been beaten in their opening two matches in the Premier League.
Today's game against Boro was Moyes' first in charge of Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, but he is already facing up to what he feels will be the reality this season.
When asked whether observers may feel Sunderland will be battling against relegation again this term, the former Manchester United manager said: "They'd probably be right, because that's the position the club has been in for the last four or five years.
"Why would that suddenly change? I think it will be (a relegation battle).
"I don't think you can hide from the fact that it will be the case. "People will be flat because they're hoping that something is going to dramatically change. It can't dramatically change. It can't."