Sunderland boss Simon Grayson wants his team to display a more ruthless streak in defence when they face Cardiff on Saturday.
The Black Cats were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Everton on Wednesday, going down 3-0 to the Premier League outfit at Goodison Park.
Grayson was not despondent about that display against quality opposition, but he has asked his players to raise their game and make opponents work harder for any breaks, regardless of who they are playing against.
“When you are coming here you know it is going to be a tough game,” he said of the Everton game.
“They had got a strong team and a strong bench. I thought at stages we were quite comfortable but when you give good players time and room in the 18-yard box they are going to punish you with a pass or with a finish.
“That was the key because the chances they took were given to them.
That was disappointing and that is regardless of whether you are playing Everton or Cardiff on Saturday you have got to be ruthless in the 18-yard box and at the top end of the pitch we need to have just a little bit more purpose about us.”
Grayson felt the subs he sent on against Everton – Callum McManaman and Jonny Williams – had decent impacts on the game, from a creative point of view.
“When we have the ball we need to keep it better, we need to put them under pressure a little bit more and obviously the chances we made with Jonny Williams and Callum McManaman coming on helped us create some chances,” he added.
Sunderland are 2.88 to beat Cardiff on Saturday. The visitors are 2.50 for the Stadium of Light clash with the draw 3.20.