Sunderland skipper Lorik Cana has admitted Steve Bruce's side are feeling the heat as they slide down the Premier League table.
The Black Cats have not won in their last 12 top-flight outings and a promising opening to the season is turning into a relegation dogfight.
Tuesday's 1-1 draw at bottom club Portsmouth leaves the Wearsiders just three points above the drop zone in the tightly-packed lower reaches.
Next on the agenda for Sunderland is a testing trip to Emirates Stadium to tackle title-chasing Arsenal, who are the last side the Black Cats beat in league action back on 21st November.
Albania international Cana knows it is down to the players to halt their alarming slump and avert an impending crisis.
Cana admitted: "There is a lot of pressure on us.
"But we are proud to be professionals and to play for this club and must go and show that."
Sunderland looked set to take all three points at Fratton Park in midweek after Ricardo Rocha's early red card with Darren Bent slotting home the resulting penalty.
But midfield duo Lee Cattermole and David Meyler were dismissed after the break and Aruna Dindane snatched a last-gasp leveller.
It was a third disappointment of the season for Bruce's men against Pompey, having conceded a similar late leveller in the North East and crashing out of the FA Cup at Fratton Park.
Cana admitted they only had themselves to blame and added: "We just had to play the game with discipline.
"It was the biggest disappointment of the season and it was our fault. In both games against Portsmouth we have conceded equalisers in injury time."