Simon Grayson has no issues with the audible frustration at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, but remains confident that he can get Sunderland’s support back on side this season.
Chants of ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt’ followed Clayton Donaldson’s second goal for the Blades, and while insists he can improve the mood in time, he is aware he is working against a backdrop of anger at the club’s long and short-term struggles.
“I’m never going to criticise supporters for voicing their opinions,” he said.
“At the moment, the team needs positivity and they are going to perform better if people are onside rather than against them.
“That’s what we have to try to transmit to the supporters – just give us a bit of time to see where we go in the next few weeks and months.
“But I fully understand because they have not just been frustrated for these last three games, it’s been the same at the club for a number of years now.
“We’re all in this together,” he added.
“The players are hurting, its a new group, some have only been here a few weeks, let’s just see where it all takes us in a few months time when we’ve had a chance to work with the players and they’ve got their feet under the table. Yeah there’s one or two finding it a bit difficult at this moment in time but these are good, honest players who will do whatever is required.”
The Black Cats boss lost his first six league games in charge of Preston last season before form dramatically improved over the winter period, and he remains confident that it can be the same story this season on Wearside.
Some of the Sunderland squad have endured a difficult start to the season but Grayson is calling on them to show their bravery against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night and beyond.
“If you’re not confident in yourself and you’re getting criticism then you’re not going to play to your maximum. All of a sudden that can change, you get that spring in your step and you can be a different animal,” he said.
“Its only results that can change the mentality of everyone connected with the club, the players, staff and supporters. We’ve had seven games, there’s still a long way to go, there’s some big clubs around us, Villa, Birmingham, Norwich. Its a tough division and there’s no divine right because of your name to win matches.
“Whoever goes out there on Tuesday night needs to be brave, to get on the ball and show enthusiasm and when you’re under a bit of pressure, stand up and be counted,” he added.
“You hope that down the line you get a few breaks here and there that go for you, you’ve got to be ruthless in both boxes. Just because we’ve lost three doesn’t mean that we’re going to be this shocking team fighting relegation. Yeah we’ve got work to do to get to where we want to. We’ve got 10 new players who want to be at this football club and we’ve got to stick together now.”