Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce has revealed why he made SIX changes to his side for the 4-1 defeat at Manchester City.
The Black Cats boss said the changes were made to give those fringe players who have been asking for a chance the opportunity to shine.
They failed as Sunderland were thumped by title-chasing City at the Etihad Stadium - with Allardyce admitting he has some 'big decisions' to make ahead of the January transfer window.
Vito Mannone was in for the dropped Costel Pantilimon, Danny Graham, Fabio Borini, Jordi Gomez, Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson were all recalled to the starting line-up.
Sunderland host Liverpool at the Stadium of Light on December 30 followed by the crucial match with Aston Villa on January 2nd.
When asked why he made widespread changes for the City match, Allardyce told the Echo "We have a hugely difficult period coming along and we have players that are saying they deserve a chance in the team.
"Why am I not playing when the team is struggling?
"Everybody has had a chance now, an opportunity.
"Obviously they haven't done as well as they should have done.
"Now it is my time to make some big decisions about the squad and think about the January window and who do we get?
"Who can we get in and who do we look to move out?
"If we are to move players in then some may have to move out, which releases the finances to do so.
"I have a long hard think about that.
"With the players I have available I have to make them more resilient and better equipped to try and beat Liverpool and Aston Villa.
"They are two massively important games coming up, the players need to be at their very best, to achieve or try and achieve as many points as possible from the two home games we
No 1 stopper Pantilimon was among those axed, with his deputy conceding four including three in nine first half minutes.
Allardyce added: "I needed to look at Vito.
"When Vito was player of the year not so long ago he said he thinks he deserved a chance.
"He had a chance today."