Sam Allardyce says Sunderland's fitness levels were NOT up to scratch when he took charge at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland set the tone for this sorry season when they were thumped by Leicester and Norwich in the opening two games - both of which were characterised by the Black Cats looking leggy and off-the-pace.
Allardyce's predecessor Dick Advocaat refused to blame those losses on a lack of fitness, although he made no attempt to defend the trans-Atlantic pre-season programme which had been organised prior to his return to the club.
But with his use of statistics and video analysis, Allardyce quickly concluded that Sunderland's players were not at the required shape for the Premier League and has moved to address that.
When asked whether fitness had been an issue, Allardyce said: "Yeah. No doubt about that.
"The fact of the matter is that we're working on all aspects and one of them is to try to get the lads that little bit fitter, and that's as big a responsibility for them as it is for the coaching staff.
"We all have statistical facts on where we are with our fitness, we want to move up the table as quick as we can in that area as well as many other areas.
"You've got your physical, technical, tactical statistics that we want to constantly monitor, see if they're improving on a game-to-game basis.
"They are doing that but the results are still not coming.
"We are getting a little fitter, we are getting a little better but at the end of the day the results are still not good enough.
"The disappointing thing is we're getting a little bit better each week but the results are not following as we would like in terms of points gained."