David Moyes admits recruitment this season is a crucial factor in the team’s lowly league position.
A high number of players left the club after the latest great escape last summer but Moyes has repeatedly said not enough money was spent to replace them.
Didier Ndong has impressed in recent months but Papy Djilobodji has struggled and not featured since January.
Moyes brought a number of players in on short-term deals after key targets moved elsewhere both in January and the previous summer, and admits that has not helped.
The Sunderland boss pointed out that the current squad has one of the highest ratios of free transfers and loans in the history of the Premier League. He did, however, point out that the Black Cats recently made their first profit in a number of windows.
He said: “I think January is the first transfer window we have made a profit in I don’t know how many years.
“When I came in, there was never going to be enough time to bring in players.
“Also, a big, big number of players left the club last summer, so there was a massive turnaround.
“We also brought in three loans and three free transfers.
“We had to patch things up very quickly.
“And there will be another turnaround this summer.”
Moyes will soon face a number of selection dilemmas as the Black Cats head for the drop, many established first team players certain to leave the club in the event of relegation.
The Sunderland boss will surely be tempted to look towards next season but told his players to show their mind is not on pastures new.
He said: “The important thing is that the players who are here, are here on the pitch.
“If they think they have something better than this, then they have to show Sunderland supporters and me, and everyone else who is watching, that they are here with us and not thinking about being somewhere else at this present time.”