Sunderland's John O'Shea says the team need to show more spirit from the first whistle or face an ugly relegation scrap.
The Black Cats fought back impressively against Chelsea on Saturday, but only after falling behind early on and then allowing the European champions to establish a 3-0 lead.
It was similar turn of events at Norwich last week when they twice conceded before fighting back and were unlucky not to secure a point with a hatful of late chances in a 2-1 defeat.
And having plummeted into the bottom three, Sunderland face fellow strugglers Reading on Tuesday.
O'Shea said: "The league doesn't end after the Reading game, fortunately. We know it's a massive game, every game at home now is going to be a massive game.
"We have to show the belief and the confidence we have shown in the second-half performances and the way we have taken the games to the opposition.
"But we have to do that from the start and not just wait for a goal to be conceded to show that reaction. We need to show that beforehand rather than a reaction."