Little has changed for Sunderland in the 16-month gap since Fabio Borini previously pulled on a red and white shirt.
While the manager and the personnel may be different, Sunderland again find themselves in the thick of a relegation scrap.
We can’t look at the table yet and think we’re bottom. It’s a long season if you do thatFabio Borini
They again find themselves propping up the Premier League table.
They again find themselves gifting opposition sides the points.
But while Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Bournemouth prompted Dick Advocaat to question whether there was a losing mentality at Sunderland, Borini insists there IS a will-to-win in the Black Cats dressing room.
If there is a mental block for Sunderland, Borini believes it is down to the pressure which accompanies the wait to register that elusive first Premier League win of the campaign.
Borini told the Echo: “We always have the winning mentality. I’m angry when we lose games – and angry when we draw games.
“I always want to win.
“But it’s always hard to get the first win and, after that, it’s easier.
“Hopefully we can get that and then get going.
“It hasn’t changed much since I was here before, but the season is still long.
“We can’t look at the table yet and think we’re bottom.
“It’s a long season if you do that.
“We have to take it game-by-game and do the best we can.”
Beforehand, Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe had urged his players to begin the game on the front foot and take advantage of the defensive vulnerability of a Sunderland side who still haven’t kept a clean sheet all season.
But Sunderland didn’t heed that warning, with the Black Cats conceding two goals inside the opening nine minutes, albeit the second was an unstoppable volleyed strike from Bournemouth winger Matt Ritchie.
“We didn’t start well and that cost us the game,” said Borini.
“I think we played better football in the second half and had our chances.
“But they scored with the only two clear chances they had. After nine minutes, we were 2-0 down and after that, it’s difficult.
“The second goal is an unbelievable strike.
“In small stadiums like this, it’s very tight. I played there before for Liverpool and it was difficult.”
Sunderland face an uphill battle to bounce back from the defeat though, with the Black Cats hosting Manchester City in the Capital One Cup third round tomorrow night, before they travel to second-top Manchester United in the Premier League on Saturday.
Borini savoured victories – and scored – against both Manchester clubs during his season-long loan at Sunderland in 2013-14, but knows that the present, not the past, is all that counts.
“You want to play against the best teams,” added the Italian.
“I’ve got great memories against them. But they’re only memories now.
“We need to do the business tomorrow and Saturday.”