Sunderland striker Marco Gabbiadini believes manager Martin O’Neill needs to find a spark to kick-start the Black Cats’ season.

O’Neill’s side crashed out of the Capital One Cup to local rivals Middlesbrough last night and have won just one of their opening eight Premier League fixtures this season.

And Gabbiadini insists it is not time to panic but admits there is room for improvement and that a win is all that is needed to kick start Sunderland’s season.

He told TalkSport: “The issue is trying to find a win now. People will start saying we’re struggling, but I don’t think we’re getting dragged into a¬†relegation¬†fight yet.

“We don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water. We can defend well and don’t concede many, and struggling teams start by trying to get the back four right and we’ve already got that.

“People still believe in O’Neill, but we’re missing a key man in midfield who can take the game to teams.”

Gabbiadini went on to say that Sunderland are lacking creativity in the team and that performances have been “laboured at times.”

“The creativity is the biggest one O’Neill has to answer. If you look at the names on the team sheet, most people were quite excited about this season,” he added.

“He’s looking to play with two wide men who like taking their man and getting to the byline. But the big issue is how we raise the tempo.

“By the time we get the ball out wide we’re allowing teams time to get men behind the ball. O’Neill has to find a spark from somewhere.”

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