David Moyes has called on the Sunderland centre-backs to take a leaf out of his book when it comes to finding the back of the net.
The 53-year-old made over 500 league appearances as a centre-half during a 20-year playing career and enjoyed a solid goalscoring record, netting 46 goals.
We are trying all sorts to find another way of scoringDAVID MOYES
Sunderland, second-lowest scorers in the Premier League on 16, could do with their central defenders finding their touch in front of goal.
Lamine Kone, Papy Djilobodji and John O’Shea are yet to score, with Moyes concerned about their lack of threat from set pieces.
And with the Black Cats solely relying on Jermain Defoe, Victor Anichebe, Patrick van Aanholt and now Fabio Borini for league goals, Moyes is looking for that to change.
Moyes concedes that deliveries from set pieces has been poor this season, with Sunderland scoring just once from a corner – Robert Huth bundling home Jan Kirchhoff’s header from a Seb Larsson corner in the win over Leicester City.
The Scot has challenged his central defenders to target four or five goals a season in order to help relieve some of the pressure from the forward line.
“I used to get my fair share from centre half,” Moyes told the Echo.
“My target every season was to get 10, honestly, unbelievably!
“But I was always good to get five or six goals that’s why I’m so focused on us not scoring.
“The truth is they don’t look like it at the moment, even when the delivery has been on the money.
“There seems to be no guarantee what part of the head it comes off.
“Papy is good in the air but he doesn’t seem to be able to do it when there are people around him.
“We are trying all sorts to find another way of scoring,” added the former Celtic, Dunfermline Athletic and Preston North End centre-back.
Top scorer Defoe has netted eight goals so far this season, with Anichebe and left-back van Aanholt both contributing three league strikes.
Sunderland, though, have only found the back of the net 16 times this season. Only Hull City have a worse record in front of goal.
Kone, signed from Lorient in January, scored twice in the 2-0 win over Everton in May while Djilobodji netted twice on loan at Werder Bremen last season - but both are yet to score this campaign.
While Moyes has challenged his defenders to contribute to the goals for column, he also knows the delivery from set pieces - particularly corners - needs to improve.
The set-piece deliveries at Manchester United on Boxing Day were better, the recalled Larsson taking four of the five corners, with van Aanholt the other.
“You need your centre-halves to score four or five goals,” added Moyes.
“Our deliveries have been so bad, they have been better since Adnan Januzaj came in.
“We need players who can deliver.
“At least it went into an area which gave us a chance and that was from Seb [against Leicester].
“We’ve not been making enough chances from that area, our consistency has not been there.”