Jason Denayer says it is vital Sunderland return to the form they showed against Liverpool – starting with Saturday’s Premier League trip to West Brom.
Since the exciting 2-2 draw with Jurgen Klopp’s title contenders on New Year Bank Holiday Monday, the Black Cats have rather lost their way.
They have drawn 0-0 with Burnley, losing the subsequent cup replay 2-0, with a 3-1 home defeat to Stoke City in between.
Saturday’s visit to The Hawthorns is a tough task, given the Baggies’ home form, and it promises to be a game David Moyes’s side are going to have to roll up their sleeves and scrap.
“We want to play our game, but it is difficult for us at the moment,” said on-loan utility man Denayer.
“We didn’t do that against Burnley [on Tuesday night] so we need to find a way of returning to how we played against Liverpool.
“They’re a top team and we matched them and we could have come away with three points.
“It is going to be a difficult game away from home because they’re a very good team.
“That said, we won’t go there looking for anything other than a win because we need the points.
“We want to win and we will do everything we can to do that.”
Denayer admits it has been a gruelling run of games for Sunderland – Tuesday’s FA Cup exit at Turf Moor was their fifth game in 18 days.
And, given the threadbare nature of the Black Cats’ squad, pretty much the same personnel have been on duty throughout
“It’s not easy and it can be challenging physically,” said the Belgian, who has played in both midfield and defence during that period.
“But, as a footballer, you want to play every game, so this isn’t something I can complain about.
“We need everyone fit and ready to play, but whoever is selected will give their all.”
Denayer, speaking to www.safc.com, said it was disappointing to go out of the FA Cup but admits it could allow them to give full attention to their league survival fight.
“Perhaps,” he said. “We have a lot of players who are currently out injured and that’s very difficult for the team.
“After we play West Brom on Saturday, we don’t have a game for over a week, so maybe that gives some of the other players a chance to come back.
“We need every member of the team.”