Steve Bruce has challenged his team to shed their 'typical Sunderland' tag.
The Black Cats chief is becoming annoyed with his team's inconsistency this season, despite being in eighth place at present.
Surprisingly, Sunderland have failed to win back-to-back games this term.
They have also garnered results in games they were not expected to - beating Manchester City and Chelsea.
However, they have lost against Wolves, West Brom and Newcastle this term, forcing Bruce to examine why.
"I don't think its complacency," he said.
"It's the mindset which is the hardest thing to deal with. Following the defeat to Wolves (3-2 a fortnight ago), on the TV and in the press it was 'typical Sunderland'.
"That is the one thing I have to eradicate. That is the hardest job on my plate, to take the club forward, to get rid of this 'typical Sunderland' tag where we win one, lose one.
"That is the challenge because to be a top club in this league, if we're going to succeed and go on to where we want to be, we have to eradicate the performances we put in against Wolves and West Brom.
"However, when I analyse the season, and we're halfway through near enough, two-and-a-half poor performances out of 16 is not bad.
"If we can repeat that for the next 16 games and go into spring with maybe 40, 43 points or so, then we'll be very happy.
"It means we'll be competing and likely in a position where we are now. That is the challenge - can we stay where we are? I've always said we want to try and be in the top 10.
"But I don't want this tag of ours any more."
Bruce, though, believes that he now has to set about changing the mentality of the players in his team, so that it fits one of a top-10 Premier League club.
He added: "It's very difficult to turn back history the way this club has been.
"The aim has to be where we have a mindset that we're a big club, with big aspirations of finishing in the top 10.
"That has been the target from day one, to stop the club from being a yo-yo club because let us not forget that 18 months ago we nearly relegated.
"I think there is progress slowly being made; I'm very pleased with what we have here and how we are going about things.
"But the challenge is trying to sustain it because last year we couldn't.
"Can we now sustain it over this winter and make a fist of it? That's the question."
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