Robbin Ruiter has backed Tyias Browning to bounce back strongly after his error cost Sunderland in their latest defeat.
The Dutch goalkeeper says the Sunderland squad will rally round the 23-year-old Everton loanee, disappointed to gift Nottingham Forest all three points on Tuesday.
Sunderland produced a much improved display, compared to the dismal showing against Sheffield United, but Browning’s mistake late on cost them dear.
Barrie McKay pounced on Browning’s dreadful misplaced pass out wide before feeding Daryl Murphy, who did the rest in the 86th minute.
“It’s tough, but we all support him,” said Ruiter.
“He’s a young player, a really talented player and he played a hell of a game in a positive way, very solid as everyone in defence did – especially Tyias – but, unfortunately, he made one mistake.
“He’s very disappointed, but we all know he’s a great player. He can be disappointed for a day, but we need him back on Saturday.”
Ruiter described the late defeat to Forest as a “punch in the stomach”, with Sunderland dominating for large periods and carving out the clearer openings.
Ultimately, though, it ended in another defeat with the Black Cats struggling for goals, with just one scored in their last three games, a Jack Rodwell consolation against the Blades.
In a further blow to Simon Grayson, top scorer Lewis Grabban was taken off with a hamstring injury.
“It’s not only Lewis Grabban and [James] Vaughany, we have to do it all together scoring goals and defending. We’re all able to score. I see it every day in training,” said Ruiter.
“Maybe it is self-confidence – we just need a victory and when we start winning games confidence will come back.
“We can play pretty good football, but we have to play it for 90 minutes.
“If we can do that and reach our normal level, which is higher than the last couple of games, we will start winning games.
“It is a punch in the stomach but we have to keep our head up.
“I’d rather lose after a game like that than a game where we didn’t play well. If you play really bad and there’s no confidence at all, there’s a lot of work to do.
“There still is, but there were some positive things.
“We just have to be more clinical in the opposition box and make sure we can keep a clean sheet.”
Ruiter – who signed on a free – was a bystander for large periods against Forest, making defeat even harder to take.
The 30-year-old said: “It’s very frustrating because if you see how we played we were way more solid than on Saturday and we didn’t give many chances away – we created some good chances for ourselves, we just have to be more clinical.
“We were unlucky in the final third and in our half of the pitch.
“If you play this game 100 times we would at least get a draw 99 times, but we end with zero points. It’s unbelievable.
“I had one long-distance shot, a couple of high balls and that was it, nothing special. I’d really like it to be like that every week.
“If I don’t have anything to do, it means we were well organised as a team. If we can play like that every week, we won’t concede many goals and you only need one goal to win games.
“The fans saw we tried everything. There was way more passion than on Saturday.
“We gave our best and were unlucky and I think the fans saw it was better than the last couple of games and we deserved to win. Unfortunately, we didn’t.
“Of course, we’re disappointed and frustrated, but we have to stick together and take the good part with us.
“If we play like we did in the next couple of games the victories will come closer and closer because we were the better team.”
Sunderland travel to Hull City on Saturday following back-to-back home defeats, extending their winless streak at the Stadium of Light to almost 10 months.
Ruiter, though, insists it isn’t a relief to be playing away from home – despite just one point from four home matches this term.
“No, I can only speak for myself, but, for me, it’s not a relief because it’s a great stadium with great fans,” added Ruiter.
“It’s normal they are disappointed as well because we haven’t won for a long time at home, but if we keep playing like this we will get higher in the table.
“It’s a positive that there is not long to be disappointed.
“We have to keep our head up and make sure we are ready for Saturday because already the next game is waiting for us and hopefully we can win that.
“It’s just the beginning and it’s not the start we hoped for, not the start we wished for, but we can set things right.”