David Moyes believes Sunderland need to be “braver” in order to stamp out their problem of conceding late goals.
Sunderland have gifted five points in the Premier League this season by shipping goals after the 85th minute.
And Moyes believes his players need to keep possession for longer periods to avoid his team from tiring late on in matches from chasing the opposition.
In order to do that, the 53-year-old Scot says they need to be braver by wanting the ball more and pushing their opponents back.
West Ham United scored the winner in the fourth minute of injury time at the London Stadium, to leave Sunderland without a win after nine league games.
They have a break from league action tonight.
The Black Cats travel to St Mary’s Stadium for the EFL Cup fourth round clash against Southampton (7.45pm kick-off).
And Moyes has a message for his players ahead of the cup tie.
Moyes said: “We think that if we kept the ball more and passed the ball more and had longer periods of possession, we wouldn’t be so tired at the end of the game.
“But that means us being braver on the ball, taking it and passing it.
“I don’t think it is to do with general fitness, but it is definitely to do with concentration levels.
“We’ve seen that on the four occasions when we have conceded late on.
“We have to try and get over that.”
Sunderland have conceded after the 85th minute, shipping late goals and crucial points at Manchester City, Southampton, West Ham and at home to Crystal Palace.
It has cost them five points.
Sunderland, with just two points to their name after draws against tonight’s opponents Southampton and West Bromwich Albion, prop up the rest of the Premier League table.
Those extra five points would see the Black Cats level with relegation rivals Hull City and Middlesbrough.
Moyes wants his team to be more attacking but is wary of striking the right balance to ensure his side is not “picked off”.
“We have to be a bit braver and push the other team back,” added the Sunderland boss.
“I want us to go and attack the opposition, I really do, but we have to also be mindful of the fact that if we open up we will be picked off.
“I’ll take any win at the moment.
“If you tell me we can give the opposition the ball for 90 minutes and then sneak a goal at the end, I’ll take that.
“But at the moment I’m not sure we can do that.
“We have to strike a balance between being tight in defence but then hitting teams on the break.”