Sunderland struggles baffle Seb
Sunderland midfielder Sebastian Larsson admits he is at a loss to explain why the club find themselves in relegation trouble yet again.
The 28-year-old Sweden international is currently in his third season at the Stadium of Light and has seen managers Steve Bruce, the man who signed him on a free transfer from Birmingham, Martin O'Neill and Paolo Di Canio depart in relatively quick succession.
With six games of the new Premier League season played, the Black Cats find themselves managerless and sitting at the foot of the table with only a single point to show for their efforts so far, hardly the best preparation for Manchester United's visit to Wearside on Saturday evening.
However, Larsson is convinced there is enough within the dressing not only to get the club out of trouble, but to prosper.
Asked if he could explain why Sunderland have repeatedly found themselves in difficult situations during his stay, he said: "I wish I knew exactly what it was because I suppose if someone did know, we wouldn't be in that situation.
"But since I came to the club, we have had some ups and downs and it's been a curvy spell.
"But you have just got to keep going, you have just got to learn from the mistakes, keep believing in what we are doing. As a group, we really believe in this.
"People are going to listen to this and say, 'Listen, you are bottom of the league, how can you say this and that?', but that's the feeling within the squad, and all we can do is go out and prove that on the pitch.
"Hopefully it will start on Saturday against Manchester United."
Interim head coach Kevin Ball is currently working to bring a little stability to the club following Di Canio's exit on September 22.
He has been placed in temporary charge while owner Ellis Short looks for the Italian's successor, and has made no secret of his desire to be considered for the post.
Under his guidance, the Black Cats turned in a much more promising display against Liverpool on Sunday, but ultimately left the pitch on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline.
However, Ball, in stark contrast to Di Canio, has been keen to emphasise the positives and address the negatives in a constructive fashion.
Larsson admits it has been a difficult few weeks, but insists he and his team-mates are intent on turning the corner sooner rather than later.
He said: "Looking back on last week and the game against Liverpool, I felt there were quite a few positives to take out of the game.
"But at the end of the day, we are in a situation now where we need the points and we need them quite quickly.
"I know there are loads of games left, but you don't want too big a gap to build and you want to get above that relegation zone quickly and then try to push on because I know we are more than capable of doing that."