On-loan Jonny Williams says he has never experienced a low like Saturday’s Championship defeat to Bristol City.
And the Welsh international insists that the Sunderland squad were, and are, determined to secure the wins needed to keep manager Simon Grayson in post.
Williams returned to the side after a hamstring injury, but he could not prevent the Black Cats falling to a 2-1 defeat and was substituted in the second half as Grayson’s men pursued a more direct approach.
“We want to play the right stuff and get the manager out of it, do it for him as well as ourselves really,” said Williams.
“Tuesday (at home to bottom club Bolton Wanderers) is now even bigger.
“It’s been tough. In previous games, you could take positives from the way we have played, but (Saturday) was incredibly frustrating, tough to play in on a personal level.
“A lot of teams have come here and enjoyed playing football, when we don’t seem to be enjoying it ourselves.
“It’s tough to take. The boys are gutted.
“I think we are finding it hard – as soon as we go one down we find it even harder.
“You think it is going to turn, but the luck isn’t going our way.
“It must have been frustrating to watch.
“You tend to go direct when you are losing.
“If it doesn’t happen, it’s frustrating to watch.
“At times, when we kept our heads, kept playing, we created a few openings.
“It was a stonewall penalty in the first half – the handball, I couldn’t believe it wasn’t given, but it’s all ifs and buts.”
Grayson is under severe pressure to deliver three points in tomorrow night’s battle of the bottom two at the Stadium of Light and Williams admits that Sunderland’s dire form is difficult to explain.
He said: “There’s not one of us who doesn’t want to win for him,.
“He has believed in us every step of the way.
“He gives us a game plan and he doesn’t step on to the pitch.
“We need to continue to try to do that for him and his staff.
“I don’t think it’s a case of not trying. I don’t think that all.
“I think this is a great group of lads and I was positive before the game.
“In games I have been involved in, I don’t think I have ever experienced being as low as that (on Saturday).
“I have played in teams that have gone up – this team is as equally good as them.
“It’s a good squad of players, good personalities, no egos.
“I don’t know what the problem is.
“If we did, we could sort it.
“We need to get ahead in games because as soon as we go down we fighting against a steep hill.
“When we do pass the ball around and dominate teams, we look equally as good as anyone in the league.
“I saw Sheffield United win on Friday and I thought our squad is equally as good as theirs, but we are miles away.”