Sunderland assistant manager Eric Black believes Stephane Sessegnon is nearing his best form after being reverted back to an orthodox position.
The Black Cats kicked off the new season with a new-look formation that was built around the talented Benin international and expected to see the best of the 27-year-old.
However, Sunderland's 4-4-1-1 formation with Sessegnon supporting a lone striker failed to deliver and the former Paris St Germain player consequently lost confidence.
Breaking point came for manager Steve Bruce in last month's 2-1 defeat at Norwich City in which Sessegnon struggled.
Black is at a loss as to why things did not work out, however, he has been delighted with Sessegnon's performances after he was reverted back to a more orthodox role within the team.
"Stephane is a player of such quality that we started the season with a system designed around him," Black told the Sunderland Echo.
"The 4-4-1-1 formation, with Stephane playing just behind the main striker, should have brought the best out of him.
"We were looking to get the ball to him as much as possible and give him the chance to turn and run at defences, which is one of his strengths.
"But, unfortunately, that system coincided with a dip in Stephane's form and, for whatever reason, it hasn't worked as we would have liked - maybe he lost a bit of form or confidence, maybe the team didn't gel as we would have hoped but, on all indicators, his stats were down from where they were last season.
"That (the Norwich defeat) was when we knew we had to look at it again because when you're feeling good and confident you don't play like that. You don't just instantly go for goal every time, you have the confidence to take things on.
"For the West Brom game, we looked to push him forward into a more orthodox position so that not everything had to go through him, and he looked far more comfortable and far more like his natural self in that role."