Simon Grayson admits that his Sunderland side have become inhibited by their poor run of form.
The Black Cats have now lost four times at home this season and, despite fighting back to level against Cardiff on Saturday, they never looked like getting anything out of the game once Joe Ralls’ penalty put the Bluebirds back in front.
Grayson said: “You look at Cardiff and because they are near the top of the league and have some decent players who do things they wouldn’t be doing if they were in our position.
“On the reverse of that, a few decent results and our players will be showing a different side to them, in terms of wanting the ball, being brave on the ball and taking us forward.
“It is only natural players feel a bit inhibited and a bit drained of confidence when you are not winning. In a few matches time, you will see a different side to the players.”
Grayson also paid tribute to Lynden Gooch after admitting he was surprised to see the 21-year-old take a penalty
Sunderland are missing designated penalty taker Lewis Grabban and Gooch took the ball ahead of James Vaughan, who missed two spot-kicks in pre-season.
Grayson revealed: “It wasn’t decided before. I was surprised and I wasn’t sure who was taking it.
“It is a good sign Gooch demands to take it. Great for him.
“Why shouldn’t he? He is a centre forward and it shows he is confident. Scoring goals is what they get paid for.”