Ex-Sunderland striker Don Goodman has criticised the attitude of the Black Cats squad.
Sunderland are third-bottom in the Championship ahead of tomorrow's Tees-Wear derby against Middlesbrough at the Riverside, the first game since Simon Grayson was sacked.
Joint caretakers Robbie Stockdale and Billy McKinlay will take charge of the game. Sunderland have only won one game in the Championship all season.
Ahead of the game, Sky Sports pundit and former Sunderland forward Goodman says the players have to take their share of blame and responsibility for the club's dismal start to the season.
Goodman told Sky Sports: "Simon Grayson had players who, despite being relegated from the Premier League, think they're too good for the Championship, and they've gone into this season with an attitude of being better than this. And that won't get you anywhere.
"There were two words synonymous with the era I played in: 'professional pride'. But that seems to have gone out of the window for a lot of players who don't seem to care about that.
"For many now it's more about themselves, money and status, rather than managers clubs and fans.
"It can be very hard for managers to deal with and it's a mentality that can wreck dressing rooms, atmospheres and football clubs.
"We're talking about Sunderland today but there are any number of previous examples of that in English football, and it will keep happening.
"They're not playing well and on big money, so who will take them? They'll sit there on their big wages and it's a massive problem for relegated clubs."
Goodman, 51, who played for Sunderland between 1991 and 1994, added: "In the Championship now we have players on more than £50k-a-week and it's mind-boggling.
"There are also players on £800-a-week, which shows the disparity in the league. It doesn't lead to dressing room harmony and we saw in the shape of Leicester a couple of years ago just how far that can take you. It can take you to the ends of the earth.
"Obviously the better calibre of player you have helps. But when I look at Sunderland I don't see that at all.
"I see a lack of confidence and players who think they're too good to be there. When you put all that into the mix there's no chance."