WES BROWN admits Sunderland’s new-look side cannot plead for extra time to find the right formula.
The Black Cats have struggled with teething problems over the opening exchanges of the campaign, with just two points separating Steve Bruce’s side from the drop zone ahead of Saturday’s clash with basement boys Wigan.
Despite bringing in 11 players during the summer, Sunderland have won just twice and failed to find a way past fellow strugglers Fulham at the Stadium of Light last weekend.
Centre-half Brown insists Sunderland’s fresh-faced side deserved some leeway after such a radical overhaul, but believes Bruce’s men should be gelling with a quarter of the campaign gone.
Brown, a £1million acquisition from Manchester United, said: “When a lot of new players come in, it does take a while for them to settle in and to gel.
“But, as far as I’m concerned, we’re through that time now.
“We’ve had enough time together now to know how each other play and to get used to how different individuals want the ball.
“That understanding is there and it is now just a case of putting it all together. At times, we’ve put it together and played really, really well. But at other times we have been sloppy and it’s that sloppiness that we have got to get out of our game.”
Last weekend’s stalemate with Fulham was earmarked as the start of Sunderland’s renaissance, as the first of four games against sides languishing in the bottom half of the table.
A point at least ensured Sunderland extended their unbeaten home run to four games, although Brown knows Bruce’s men need more as they prepare to face three of the bottom four.
“We lost our first two home games of the season, but since then we’re unbeaten in four at the Stadium of Light,” added the 32-year-old.
“OK, three of those games have been draws and we know we need to win more matches at home.
“But it’s still a decent run of form at home and if we can win on Saturday against Wigan it will give us a big lift and push us up the table.
“It’s all very well talking about it though, we’ve still got to go and do it out on the pitch.
“If we pick up a decent points return from the next three, we will be OK but if we don’t, it will be a different matter altogether.
“We have to make sure that we turn these games into points.
“We need to be confident, not panic and play to the best of our abilities.
“I know we can do that because we’ve done it at various times in games this season, but not for long enough.”