Jack Rodwell: Sunderland have gone 'a bit backwards' this season

Jack Rodwell has challenged his Sunderland teammates to drag the Black Cats out of trouble after admitting they have gone "backwards."

Sunderland are marooned at the foot of the Premier League table after Saturday's late 1-0 defeat at West Ham left them five points adrift of safety and without a victory nine games into the campaign.

After finishing last season with just one defeat in 11 matches under former manager Sam Allardyce, they now face an uphill battle under his successor David Moyes.

However, Rodwell insists it is down to the players to put things right as they prepare for Saturday's home clash with Arsenal, which follows a midweek EFL Cup trip to Southampton.

The 25-year-old told the Sunderland Echo: "We probably have gone a bit backwards. It's not easy when you are chopping and changing all of the time, as players, as managers, but that's no excuse.

"We have a great manager here and we need to do it on the pitch. It's the 11 players on the pitch who have to do it. We have gone a bit backwards, but we are the ones who can put it right.

"The manager will be bitterly disappointed and so are the players. But anyone can beat anyone this season if you put the hard work in.

"Sometimes we need a bit of luck on our side as well. If we can get a good win against Arsenal, then that will lift us massively."