Michael Chopra believes the international break has given Sunderland time to regroup after a topsy-turvy start to the season.
The Black Cats claimed four points from their first two matches on their return to the Premier League but since then have lost four games in a row - including a poor display against Wigan and a shock Carling Cup upset at Luton.
This Saturday they welcome fellow strugglers Reading to the Stadium of Light, in a match Roy Keane's men must win if they are lift the gathering gloom.
The Wearside club currently sit just one place above the relegation zone after five games but the former Cardiff striker is confident his side's fortunes will soon improve.
"It has not all been disappointing. Even at Wigan we could have got something and you are not expected to get points off teams like Man United and Liverpool," Chopra told The Northern Echo.
"But it's right. Whenever you play Reading, Wigan and teams down there battling around you, you have to take as many points as you can.
"Come Reading we need those three points because we let ourselves down big time at Wigan. We have to start from the whistle. We can't afford to be slow out of the blocks.
"At times a break can be good for you and at other times it can hurt you. It can upset the rhythm. But because we have lost four games on the bounce it has given us time to regroup. We have to work out our plans for the Reading game and things are going well."
Chopra, who played in a five-man midfield in the 1-0 defeat against Manchester United, is also looking forward to partnering new signing £6million man Kenwyne Jones in his favoured striking role.
He added: "I learned a lot from last week's outing at United when I played right midfield.
"Whenever the ball got booted up to Kenwyne Jones we were told to get up and support. It was hard. But I'm looking forward to playing up there with him."