Jack Rodwell admits that Sunderland have “gone a bit backwards” this season ahead of their English Football League clash with Southampton.
The Black Cats are rock-bottom of the Premier League, with seven losses and two draws from their opening nine matches.
Their only joy under new boss David Moyes has been their EFL Cup run, with wins over Shrewsbury Town and Queens Park Rangers, to set up their fourth-round tie with Claude Puel’s Saints.
Rodwell, meanwhile, has astonishingly not won a single game for Sunderland, since his £10million move from Manchester City in 2014, when included in the starting line-up.
He has started 32 times in the Premier League, drawing 15 and losing 17 times, although as a substitute, Sunderland have won five, drawn five and lost only 10.
The struggling Wearside club last lost in the final minutes to West Ham in the Premier League, with Rodwell admitting: “We probably have gone a bit backwards.
“It’s not easy when you are chopping and changing all of the time, as players, as managers, but that’s no excuse.”
He added: “We have a great manager here and we need to do it on the pitch.
“It’s the 11 players on the pitch who have to do it. We have gone a bit backwards, but we are the ones who can put it right.
“The manager will be bitterly disappointed and so are the players. But anyone can beat anyone this season if you put the hard work in.”
It doesn’t get any easier for Sunderland, though, with Arsenal next up on Saturday.
Rodwell concluded: “Sometimes we need a bit of luck on our side as well. If we can get a good win against Arsenal, then that will lift us massively.”