Sam Allardyce insists Sunderland’s derby win never lulled him into a false sense of security over the size of the task to keep the club in the Premier League.
Sunderland have suffered back-to-back defeats since recording an elusive first win of the campaign against Newcastle a fortnight ago, with the Black Cats now four points adrift of safety.
I have to get the whole team better than what they are at the momentSam Allardyce
After Saturday’s 1-0 loss against Southampton, Allardyce labelled Sunderland’s survival hopes as a “mammoth task” and admits he is struggling to immediately improve the Black Cats’ fortunes after three points from his opening four games in charge.
Allardyce said: “The Newcastle victory didn’t cloud my opinion, apart from the fact that if we can stay as clinical as we were in that game, we’ll win more games.
“But I have to get the whole team better than what they are at the moment.
“I’m finding that difficult based on the disruption I’ve faced with the injuries, suspensions and international weeks.
“There can be too much information, which can be as harmful as giving them the information at all.
“I can’t over-inform them, I’ve got to do it bit by bit, game-by-game, week-by-week.”
Self-inflicted blows have been a root cause for Sunderland’s troubles this season and another was to blame against Southampton after Yann M’Vila’s completely needless foul on Ryan Bertrand handed the visitors a match-winning penalty.
“The more and more pressure you put on yourself, the more likely you are to make those silly mistakes,” said Allardyce.
“We’ve got to work on that to try to avoid it.
“This one was... I just felt comfortable when I saw Yann running across there.
“Then it sickens you even more when you see the referee pointing to the spot, and rightly so because it was a penalty.
“We know what the basics are to instil a bit more confidence and make us better in possession, and relinquish a bit of that fear they seem to be playing with.
“On the training ground, I see them passing the ball, moving the ball and finding space very, very well.
“There’s talented, experienced players here.
“But they’ve got to use that more than they are at the moment.”