Sebastian Larsson acknowledges that it is the responsibility of the Sunderland players to turn their faltering season around.
Few expected the Black Cats to become embroiled in a Premier League basement battle when the 2012/13 campaign got underway, with big money having been spent on the likes of Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson.
Inconsistency and an inability to string positive results together has, however, cost the Wearside outfit dear, with just one place and a solitary point separating them from the drop zone.
As is often the case in such situations, pressure has mounted steadily on the shoulders of boss Martin O'Neill, with questions raised as to his ability to bring the best out of those at his disposal.
Larsson, though, believes it is the players who should be falling under the microscope, with back-to-back home games against Chelsea and Reading offering them an opportunity to prove that they have the stomach for a fight.
The Sweden international told the Shields Gazette: "If you look at the squad, we shouldn't be in this situation we're in. But then you've got to realise we are and take responsibility for that and make sure we get out of it.
"It's us the players who are out there. We can't look at anyone else, we've got to sort it out. We've got to show we are that team that people expected us to be. We know we can, but saying it is one thing. We need to kick it into gear, it's as simple as that.
"I don't think anyone will stand up and say it's been a good start. We wanted to kick on this season, but we have had a disappointing start. We can't change things now. But we've got to keep working hard."
Ahead of Saturday's meeting with a Chelsea side that has suffered its own problems of late, Larsson added: "It's a funny situation for Chelsea, but ours is the only one we can worry about.
"I know there's pressure in the Premier League, but you have to put that to one side.
"Every game is very important no matter who it's against. We need points, nothing else."
What will be the outcome in the match Sunderland vs Chelsea?