David Moyes has demanded that his Sunderland defence prove the Everton collapse was a one-off – as he weighs up switching to a back three.
Sunderland were rocked by a Romelu Lukaku hat-trick in the space of 11 minutes against Everton on Monday night to leave them still searching for their first win after four Premier League matches.
Moyes brought Manchester City loanee Jason Denayer on for the final stages of the game, reverting to a back three to limit the damage.
Captain John O’Shea could also come back into central defence, with Moyes keen to add experience to his side.
And he admits he is considering whether to keep faith with his current back four or switch to a back three against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon (4.30pm kick-off).
“It is in my consideration,” revealed Moyes.
“Part of me also feels ‘do I need to see if this is the real back four?’
“Do you buckle after you have seen a bad 30 minutes or do we say n’o, go again?’
“Whether you play a back three or back four it would be tough against Everton and Tottenham at the best of times.
“It is a decision we are looking at – we have looked at a couple of things and we will see where we go come Sunday.”
Sunderland started with a back four of Javier Manquillo, Lamine Kone, Papy Djilobodji and Patrick van Aanholt last time out against Everton.
The Black Cats were well in the game first half but then inexplicably collapsed after the break, with the game being taken away from them in the space of 11 minutes.
Moyes added: “We have got to prove to everybody that it won’t happen again.
“We have got to show more quality. But, for 50 or 60 minutes, we were right in the game, we have been right in games.
“But we went 1-0 down then 2-0 down and we capitulated in the game.
“That is not excusable. We all need to stand up and learn from it.
“We have looked at it and we have talked about it and we will try and make it better.
“We didn’t stay strong right to the end.”
Centre-back pairing Kone and ex-Chelsea man Djilobodji took the brunt of the criticism, but Moyes says he was also disappointed with full-backs Manquillo and van Aanholt.
He added: “Lamine and Papy are both good players. I think they have both proved themselves.
“We gave Lamine a new contract because we think he is a good player.
“We believe he is a player who can continue to improve us.
“Papy is just new and maybe he has been thrown in a bit sooner.
“He has certainly got potential to be a very good player. He is good on the ball and is quick. Positionally we need to work on him.”
Moyes added: “In many ways, I was disappointed with my full-backs.
“Positionally, they were dire for the first goal and the other goals as well.
“So really, from that point of view, I was as disappointed with them as I was the centre backs.
“They could have helped us out and didn’t do that as well as they should have done.”