United States international DeAndre Yedlin admits Sunderland need to become mentally tougher if they are going to avoid relegation this season.
The Black Cats are embroiled in another relegation battle this term and, with eight games remaining, they are two points behind Norwich City, who sit in 17th place.
Sam Allardyce’s men have recorded three consecutive Premier League draws against Crystal Palace, Southampton and Newcastle United, but three points could have easily been nine.
Sunderland took the lead in the 2-2 result with the Eagles, while a late goal was conceded in the clash against the Saints in second-half stoppage-time.
In Sunday’s derby at St James’ Park, Jermain Defoe handed the visitors a 1-0 lead but once again they failed to keep a clean sheet when Aleksandar Mitrovic headed home an equaliser in the closing stages.
The inability to hold onto a lead has been frustrating for Allardyce and the manager has stated this will need to change if they are to remain in the top flight.
Yedlin, who has been a regular fixture in the first team this term, says the recent performances have been good but he admits the team need to focus for the full 90 minutes.
“The last few games, we should have got wins and the games are very important for us,” he said. “I’m not sure what it is for us. Maybe it comes down to the mental side and being a little bit stronger and having a bit more grit.”
Sunderland return to league action on April 2 after the international break when they welcome West Bromwich Albion to the Stadium of Light with the hosts 2.10 favourites to clinch all three points, a draw is priced at 3.20 while the Baggies are a 3.60 shot.