ASAMOAH Gyan admits another derby disaster has left every Sunderland player feeling the heat just two games into the campaign.
The inquest continues today into a second defeat in three to Newcastle after Sunderland prolonged their desperate record on Wearside against the Magpies.
Sunderland face a quickfire double header to restore some confidence, although tomorrow’s Carling Cup trip to Championship high-fliers Brighton and Saturday’s clash at Premier League new boys Swansea have the potential to further erode the summer’s feelgood factor.
But Gyan, under fire himself after two goalless games, knows Sunderland need to respond to derby shame as they did last season when Steve Bruce’s men embarked upon a four-match unbeaten run following the drubbing at St James’s Park.
The Ghanaian striker told the Echo: “There’s definitely pressure on us now, but that’s normal after a defeat like that.
“Personally, I’m not happy because I’ve played two games and not scored.
“But we’ve just started the league and, with the kind of players we’ve got, I hope we can score some goals.
“We need to start winning some games, but we’ve got quality players who are capable of winning games.
“We’re down, but we’re not out. We’ve just got to keep our heads up and keep going.
“We understand the supporters because it’s a derby game.
“Every derby game, we play for the fans and we want to win too. We have got family behind us who want us to win too so we’re all disappointed.
“But it happened last year and afterwards we came back stronger. I hope that happens again.”
Gyan insists Sunderland had only themselves to blame for Saturday’s 1-0 defeat after failing to make their first-half pressure count.
Sunderland were well aware of the threat Newcastle posed from set pieces.
But after the Wearsiders earned a reprieve from Seb Larsson’s goal-line handball following a Yohan Cabaye corner, the Magpies grabbed the points through Ryan Taylor’s free-kick.
“We had a good first half, but we should have scored some goals,” added Gyan.
“And we got punished in the second half because we knew all they had was from set pieces – they couldn’t hurt us from open play.
“The manager said that before the match, everyone said it.
“That was what we needed to watch out for and we got punished, so we can only blame ourselves.
“I didn’t see the handball against Seb, but they’re very dangerous from set pieces. They threatened every time they had one.
“It’s frustrating. We conceded a lot of goals from set pieces last year and this year also – I hope it doesn’t continue because we should have had something ourselves first.
“Our game plan worked in the first half, but we didn’t score because our final ball wasn’t good enough.
“In the first half, we won a lot of the second balls, but that stopped in the second half.
“That allowed them to come back into the game, so we have to take some blame for that as well.
“After they scored, we wanted to come back quickly, so we started playing risky passes and sometimes when that happens it’s difficult.”