Sunderland defender Anton Ferdinand believes he and his team-mates are fighting for their futures following the sudden departure of manager Roy Keane.
Ferdinand, an £8million signing from West Ham in the summer, knows that each player will have to prove himself all over again to a new manager.
Chairman Niall Quinn will sit down with his fellow directors later this week and narrow down the list of applicants for the vacant manager's post.
With a vital clash against fellow relegation strugglers West Brom on Saturday at the Stadium of Light and then Hull the following week the pressure is on the board to put in place a manager sooner rather than later.
Former Bolton and Newcastle manager Sam Alladyce and former West Ham boss Alan Curbishley are the bookmaker's favourites to take over from Keane but Ferdinand knows whoever comes in will want things done their way.
"As fast as you come in the door, you can leave just as quickly," insisted the 23-year-old.
"But the boys have got a lot of pride in themselves, which we showed at the weekend.
"None of the boys want to give up that shirt, none of the boys want to leave the club, if they wanted to, their attitude wouldn't have been spot on at the weekend."
The Black Cats were seconds away from claiming a point at Old Trafford on Saturday but an injury time winner from Nemanja Vidic claimed all three points for Manchester United.
The defeat made it seven losses in eight games, six coming in the Premier League, and kept them in the relegation zone.
Despite Keane walking away Ferdinand insists that the players should take their share of the blame for the club's current predicament.
He added: "It is not always down to the manager, it is down to the players. We have got to stick together now more than ever.
"As a group of players we have to stick together whether there is a manager here or not. We have got to show that grit and determination."
First team coach Ricky Sbragia took charge of the side for the United match and looks set to continue in the dug-out for the visit of the Baggies.
The 23-year-old believes this is not a problem for the Wearsiders.
"As you saw on Saturday, the boys have got a lot of respect for Ricky, and that's why we went out and played the way we did.
"We are full of big characters in the dressing room and we are coping very well."
The former Hammers defender also received words of encouragement from his older brother Rio but Ferdinand junior hints that wouldn't have been the case if United hadn't won.
He added: "He thought we played well as a team and said we showed great character despite what had happened.
"But they got all three points, so he was still happy. If they hadn't got the three points, he probably wouldn't have been saying that to me."