LEE CATTERMOLE insists Sunderland cannot afford to dwell on their troubles in front of goal if they are to pull out of the doldrums.
The Black Cats have found the net just once in their last three games, with that meagre return earning a solitary point to pile the pressure on under-fire boss Steve Bruce.
Sunderland couldn’t find a way past an under-par Manchester United, toiled against Fulham and then saw their wastefulness punished against Wigan last weekend.
But skipper Cattermole (pictured) believes Sunderland must focus on the positives from their goal return earlier in the season, if they are to prevail at fellow strugglers Wolves on Sunday.
Sunderland scored 12 in the six games prior to November, albeit their efforts were lessened by conceding eight goals in the same spell.
Cattermole told the Echo: “I don’t think it’s been so much the goals we can’t get this season that’s been the problem. It’s been more conceding more goals than we ever have.
“Maybe we’re lacking a little bit of spark in the final third, but then two of the last three games have been against Man United and a well-organised Fulham team.
“Before that, we scored four against Stoke, two against Villa, two against Bolton and two against West Brom.
“We know the goals are there.
“We hit the crossbar twice against Fulham and we’re creating chances, so I don’t think there’s necessary a problem there.”
Despite Sunderland’s lowly position and the rising tide of opposition to Bruce, the Black Cats have not been a lost cause this season.
Sunderland’s six defeats have all been inflicted by a one-goal margin, with September’s loss at newly-promoted Norwich City the only occasion on which the Wearsiders have been thoroughly woeful.
Last weekend’s injury-time defeat to Wigan stemmed from Sunderland going gung-ho for a winner, as they had in the previous Stadium of Light outing against Fulham.
“On the whole, we look a lot more solid as a team,” added Cattermole, who was one of Sunderland’s better performers against the Latics before being withdrawn midway through the second half.
“But we chased the game in the last 10 or 15 minutes and were caught out.
“I think that’s understandable with the fans urging us on and the lads wanting to go and win the game.
“You’re going to take a few more risks, especially at home.
“But we’re starting to look more solid, which has been part of our downfall this season.”