David Moyes has called on his under-pressure Sunderland side to show the same resilience they displayed in last season’s survival bid.
The Black Cats have been beaten by a single goal six times this season, with the latest coming in the 1-0 defeat to Southampton in the EFL Cup at St Mary’s Stadium last night.
The fans deserve great credit, they are watching a team that isn’t winning, it gives you an idea of the strength of the football clubDAVID MOYES
They return to league action when they host Arsenal at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
But Sunderland are without a Premier League win all season and rooted to the foot of the division, five points clear of safety.
They have been beaten 1-0 in the past two games, to Southampton last night and West Ham United on Saturday.
Moyes believes his struggling side have showed signs of improvement in recent weeks but says they need to be more resilient and become harder to beat.
“We have the ability to stay in touch in games, we want to improve our ability to play a bit better,” said Moyes.
“We need to be hard to beat and be resilient. They showed that at times to be resilient last season.
“I want to try to win games but I want us to stay hard to beat to try to pick up points.
“I thought the players played really well, it was a good steady team performance but it was a big disappointment and we had a big chance to get a penalty kick with a couple of minutes to go to take it to extra time and it doesn’t happen.”
Sunderland were beaten 1-0 in the fourth round of the competition thanks to Sofiane Boufal’s 66th minute winner.
Paddy McNair, who played in an unorthodox role on the left wing, had a chance to equalise almost immediately, his effort at the back post cleared.
Sub Jermain Defoe also had a chance well saved by Alex McCarthy too, as Sunderland tried to get back into the game.
Moyes added: “Defoe almost got us a goal. In a way you think he will get this, his finishing is so good.
“I think Paddy McNair hit the post with a header. I think he should have scored. It was a great chance to score.”
Sunderland were backed by almost 1,500 fans on the south coast, phenomenal travelling support given it was a seven-hour coach journey just to get to the game. Moyes was quick to praise the supporters for their backing throughout.
He added: “The fans deserve great credit, they are watching a team that isn’t winning, it gives you an idea of the strength of the club.”