CRAIG Gardner has blasted the criticism of Sunderland at such a tender stage of the campaign.
Sunderland head into Sunday’s clash with Stoke City still searching for their first win of the season after taking just two points from the opening four Premier League games.
But £5million man Gardner believes Sunderland were always going to take time to find their feet after bringing in 11 new players over the summer.
The former Birmingham City midfielder said: “It takes time to gel into things.
“You’ve come to a new club, moved your life, moved everything. You can’t just fit straight in.
“But, at the end of the day, we’re giving everything we’ve got and it’s just one or two goals we’re lacking.
“It’s not falling for us at the moment but we’ll be fine. Once we get a few more points, we’ll be OK.
“We’re four games into the season – it’s ridiculous.
“People are writing us off, but there’s no way you can. I think people are jumping on the bandwagon.
“We haven’t played that badly, we’re not struggling.
“We’ve actually had two good results away from home.
“I don’t understand why people are saying we’re struggling because at the end of the day we’re not.
“We’re playing well, we’re just lacking a couple of goals, which will come.”
The 24-year-old added: “If you look at the signings Sunderland have made this summer and the quality we’ve already got, there’s quality there in abundance.
“There’s experience, there’s youth, there’s pace, there’s creativity. There’s no way we’re going to struggle at the bottom all season.
“Let’s just play our game on Sunday because the points will come. The reaction of the supporters doesn’t surprise me.
“It’s a big club, there’s high expectations and that’s why I came here.
“I’ve got high expectations too and I’m probably speaking for all of the lads who came in over the summer.
“We want to win, the manager wants to and the supporters too. We now need to take that onto the pitch and show the fans what we can do.”
Stoke are on Europa League duty tonight, with the Potters making the long trip to Dynamo Kiev before flying home in the early hours.
Boss Tony Pulis has left behind Jonathan Woodgate, Asmir Begovic, Peter Crouch and Matthew Etherington with a view to Sunday’s game.
And Gardner has warned that the Potters won’t have it easy on Wearside as Sunderland look to register a first home point of the campaign.
He said: “They won’t want to come to the Stadium of Light. They won’t fancy it.
“They’ll play the long ball, they’ll be direct and work hard, but we’ll look to combat that. There’s a few lads there we know, but the points are more important than the faces.”
H Everton forward Magaye Gueye has given manager David Moyes a boost by declaring himself fit and ready for first-team duty.
The France Under-21 cap was sidelined for a month with a broken toe but completed 86 minutes in the reserves’ 2-1 win over Aston Villa’s second string.