Duncan Watmore has called on his Sunderland team-mates to stay positive despite a shambolic second-half collapse against Everton.
David Moyes’ side were well in the game at half-time at the Stadium of Light.
But a shocking second-half display, which saw Everton’s Romelu Lukaku score an 11-minute hat-trick leaves Sunderland still searching for their first win of the season as the Goodison men romped home 3-0.
Sunderland’s defence couldn’t cope with Lukaku, who had gone 11 Premier League games without a goal before last night.
Two of his goals were free headers, with the third a simple ball through the middle of Sunderland’s defence.
“That was really tough to take,” said a visibly frustrated Duncan Watmore.
“We were good for about 45 minutes and then we had 10 minutes or so when we really let ourselves down.
“The fans deserve much better.
“They always support us and it is just so frustrating.
“We had a couple of chances to score and that might have changed it, but we didn’t and they scored three quick goals.”
England Under-21 international Watmore refused to lay the blame solely at the feet of the Sunderland back four.
Watmore insists defending is the responsibility of the whole team, ahead of Sunday’s league trip to Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur, fresh from a 4-0 demolition of Stoke and heading into Champions League action tomorrow night.
“It comes from the front, the defending,” added Watmore.
“Everyone is taking responsibility, it is just so frustrating because you cannot defend like that.
“We know that and we know we can do better and that is what we want to do next week – put in a much better performance.
“It is a learning curve, but we need to do it quickly.”
Moyes’ side had started the game well and were more than a match for Ronald Koeman’s Everton side for the opening 45 minutes.
But their lack of clinical edge cost them, with Everton running riot second half.
Sunderland, who remain second bottom of the table with just a single point from their opening four league matches, travel to White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon (4.30pm kick-off).
Watmore added: “We needed to start well, we need more points and we will try to do that starting with Tottenham.
“We need to stay positive.”
Sunderland’s defeat extended their dismal run of games without a Premier League win in August and September to 27, going back to 2012.
In the 27 games, Sunderland have drawn 13 times and lost 14.