Robbie Stockdale remains “convinced” Sunderland will get out of trouble despite heading into the international break rock bottom of the Championship.
Sunderland have picked up just 10 points from their opening 16 Championship games with a 1-0 defeat at Middlesbrough the latest defeat of a sorry campaign.
Marcus Tavernier took advantage of some woeful defending from John O’Shea and Billy Jones to put Boro in front after just six minutes.
Sunderland couldn’t find a way back into the game and are three points adrift of fourth-bottom Burton Albion.
When pressed on whether it was a performance of a side that could go down this season, joint caretaker boss Stockdale said: “No, I don’t think so.
“We have to keep working hard. At some point we have to make the big opportunities in games ours, at both ends of the pitch.
“I thought we looked more solid in terms of how we set up, we set up in a certain way.
“That got affected by the injuries we picked up in the week and the injuries in the game.
“After the game the players were very flat, players and staff were disappointed obviously.”
Is there enough in this Sunderland squad to get out of trouble, a defiant Stockdale responded: “Yes, I certainly do.
“You look at the group of players we have got, I am convinced they will pull a way out of this.”
Defeat to Boro summed up the season with a glorious chance missed by Lewis Grabban in the opening minutes only for Boro to hit back almost straight away and take advantage of some awful defending.
Stockdale added: “I am really disappointed to have lost the game. I thought we were well in the game. For it to be decided within the first six minutes was disappointing after the opportunity we had to score.
“I am not going to sit here and say we are unlucky losers, we could have said that too many times this year. It is up to us to change that and become lucky winners occassionally.
“It is not ideal, is it [being bottom]? It is not what any of us want. I didn’t see that in the game, I thought the players gave their all.”