Sunderland boss insists 'devastated' players do care after frustrations grow following three straight defeats

Sunderland boss Simon Grayson at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland boss Simon Grayson at the Stadium of Light.

Simon Grayson has defended his Sunderland players insisting they do care and has called for patience after a third straight defeat.

Grayson said the club has to "ride the storm" of negativity, with another home game against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday.

The Black Cats were beaten 2-1 by Sheffield United at the Stadium of Light, Clayton Donaldson's brace extending the winless streak at home to an incredible 266 days.

Fans turned on the players with chants of 'You're not fit to wear the shirt' while supporters also hit out at owner Ellis Short chanting 'Are you watching Ellis Short' as Sunderland limped to another defeat.

Grayson said he understands the frustrations of supporters but insists the players all felt "devastated" by the defeat and backed them to turn it around.

He also insisted they do care about the club's current plight, adding it was a new team in the main after 10 new arrivals this summer.

"We all have to make sure we are brave together, stand up and be counted and keep working hard to achieve what we want to achieve," said Grayson.

"There is still a long way to go. I understand the frustration of the supporters but the players are frustrated too. They do care.

"There isn't an individual within that group that was not affected by the result today and the previous ones. They do care. It is a confidence thing but that can change quickly.

"Hard work [is how we get momentum back]. That is all you have to do.

"Work on the training pitch and give the players as much confidence and belief as possible that they can do and get results, the big thing is when we have had results at Norwich and in the cup games we have gone in front.

"It isn't just a confidence thing this season, it has happened over a long period of time for the supporters and everyone connected with the club.

"I get supporters having the frustration and saying what they say but this is a new group of players.

"This isn't a group that has contributed to the last two or three years of relegation battles, this is a new group that is desperate to be here, to work hard and get performances.

"There is not one player down there who isn't devastated by what happened.

"I will ask for a little bit of time for the players, for us all, we knew it would be a tough season with the teams you are playing against and the nature of this football club and what comes with it."

Sunderland managed just one shot on goal, Jack Rodwell's 94th minute consolation.

Grayson added: "It has to be better. You have to make the right decisions and have better quality. If you don't ask too many questions then you won't score too many goals.

"We have to be better, that will come with confidence. It is a fragile state of mind is confidence, I have been there as a player.

"I have been involved in games where it can affect you. It can change quickly.

"We all have to stick together, players, supporters, fans, and staff we have to make sure we try and ride this storm of a little bit of negativity and see where the season takes us."