Sunderland midfielder has this message after tough defeats against Rotherham and Sheffield Wednesday
Corry Evans says Sunderland’s young players will learn from this difficult period while the Black Cats’ captain will use his experience to try and assist them.
After a promising start to the campaign, Lee Johnson’s side have suffered three successive league defeats, including 5-1 and 3-0 losses at Rotherham and Sheffield Wednesday respectively.
Evans, 31, joined Sunderland from Blackburn in the summer and was made club captain at the Stadium of Light.
The midfielder has racked up over 250 appearances during his career and hopes recent setbacks will toughen the group up.
“Listen, the young lads who have been playing this year have done really well but they are still young and this is all part and parcel of learning in football,” he said.
“They will come through this period better players and grow in stature.
“For myself personally, at my age now, I have been there and you come across these periods in the season and it’s all about sticking together as a group.
“Obviously we are disappointed and we are down but we have to pick ourselves up, we have no other option and we have to try and look at the longer target and address it.”
Sunderland’s back four has consistently included Callum Doyle, 18, and Dennis Cirkin, 19, while midfielder Dan Neil, 19, has also become a first-team regular.
The likes of Elliot Embleton, Leon Dajaku and Thorben Hoffmann are also in their early 20s and still adjusting to the demands of playing regular first-team football.
Evans believes the aforementioned players have lots of potential but says he will pass on his advice when necessary.
“I’m just trying to help them along as much as I can and use my experience,” the midfielder added.
“I’ve been there as a young player and I always looked up to the older players to try and use their experience and go off what they know.
“Especially in tough periods like this I’m trying to help them and advise them where we can be better to get out of this little slump that we’re in.”
“I think you have seen it first-hand this season, some of the performances have been very good and we’ve got a lot of talent and real good potential in the squad.
“At times when it clicks we look like a really good team and I think we just have to get that consistency to push on this season and really make a push for promotion.”
In recent defeats against Charlton, Rotherham and Sheffield Wednesday, a pattern of play has emerged which has exploited Sunderland’s weakness.
The Black Cats’ last three league opponents have played with two physical strikers, pressed high up the pitch and delivered early crosses into the box from wide areas – which has proved effective.
Sunderland now have to wait until November 20 for their next league fixture, and Evans is well aware the side have looked lightweight in recent matches.
“We are coming away from home and we need to stand up to the challenge,” he said. “Teams are going to be physical and we have to stand up to it.
“We are conceding soft goals and need to address it and put a stop to it.”