Marco Gabbiadini insists Sunderland should not start panicking just yet – but admits they need to find a spark from somewhere to kick-start their season.
The Black Cats have won just one Premier League game all season, although they have drawn six, and crashed out of the Capital One Cup to local rivals Middlesbrough at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday night.
And while Gabbiadini admits he’s not too concerned just now, he does recognise that improvements need to be made.
He told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast: “The issue is trying to find a win now. People will start saying we’re struggling, but I don’t think we’re getting dragged into a relegation fight yet.
“We don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water. We can defend well and don’t concede many, and struggling teams start by trying to get the back four right and we’ve already got that.
“People still believe in O’Neill, but we’re missing a key man in midfield who can take the game to teams.
“The creativity question is the biggest one O’Neill has to answer. If you look at the names on the team-sheet, most people were quite excited about this season.
“He’s looking to play with two wide men who like taking their man on and getting to the byline. But the big issue is how we raise the tempo. It’s really laboured at times. By the time we get the ball out wide we’re allowing teams time to get men behind the ball.
“O’Neill has got to find a spark from somewhere.”