Sunderland striker Fabio Borini has opened up on his season of frustration, and hopes he can soon pin down one role in the Black Cats’ side.
The Italian struggled with injury in the early part of the season and, upon his return, has been unable to find consistency either in selection or his performances.
A late illness affecting Jason Denayer saw him recalled to the side for last Saturday’s trip to Everton, but he was unable to prevent the Black Cats slipping to a 2-0 defeat.
While Borini has insisted that he will play anywhere, he is striving for continuity in his role under David Moyes.
He said: “The fact that the squad is thin is a problem for the manager, but, as far as I am concerned, I need to adapt to what the team needs.
“When we had so many injuries, if he needed me to play left midfield then I played left midfield.
“Even if it is not my preference, if I don’t like it because I want to score goals, then I have to change my game because helping the team was more important.
“But when you play left midfield, it does not require your goals, it requires your defensive side.”
Borini has scored just once this season, a fine volley from distance when Sunderland trailed Manchester United at Old Trafford.
For most of 2017. he has struggled to force his way into the 3-5-2 formation preferred by David Moyes, with Adnan Januzaj invariably selected to partner Jermain Defoe.
Borini has featured on the right and left flanks, though he did get the chance to lead the line in the FA Cup replay at Burnley.
The 25-year-old knows he needs a goal to get his season going, but, above all else, is hoping for a consistent run in one position.
He said: “I need the goals, but more than anything I need to play every week and to know what my role is because it has changed so many times.
“I have been told to play on the left, the right, in the middle, behind the striker, and even left-back when it is needed.
“If it’s needed in a game, that’s not a problem.
“But to be consistent and to play in a certain way every week, that would obviously be my preference – not just for myself but for all 11 players, and the 18, and the 22 that are in the squad.
“We know, if we do that, we can get the results – as we have in the past.”
Borini’s best showing in recent times came in the 2-2 draw with Liverpool on January 2, with only the visitors’ Adam Lallana covering more distance in that game.
The Italian says that replicating that hard work will be key to climbing up the table and says that defending well will be the priority when Manchester City visit on Sunday (4pm kick-off).
He said: “Away at Everton. we knew it would a hard game, and then at home against Man City. we know it is going to be an even harder game, but what we have to do is to stay in the game as long as possible.
“We have to defend and get the ugly bits done then try to get even a scrappy goal to win or, if we can’t do that, try to keep a clean sheet, so that we get a point like we did against Tottenham.
“Even against Liverpool, at the beginning of January, we conceded two goals but we scored two goals as well by playing our game, which was to work hard and try to make a result.”