SIMON GRAYSON has called for everyone to stay united as he attempts to “ride a storm of negativity” at Sunderland after another depressing afternoon at the Stadium of Light.

The Black Cats boss was a frustrated figure during and after a defeat to Sheffield United this afternoon which has left them just a point above the relegation zone after six matches.

Sunderland have won just one of those games since dropping out of the Premier League and have lost three in a row in the league, increasing the tensions in the stands.

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Fans chanted ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt’ and ‘are you watching Ellis Short’ after conceding a double from Blades striker Clayton Donaldson on Wearside.

Despite a stoppage-time goal from Jack Rodwell, who was booed by his own supporters in the second half, Sunderland lost again and now Grayson knows he needs a lift from somewhere ahead of Tuesday’s visit of Nottingham Forest.

Grayson, who has spent just £1.25m on ten summer signings, said: “Of course it is frustrating when you lose another game at home, it is like Groundhog Day: we started decent enough, tried to get the first goal on the front foot, and 25 seconds before they put it in our net we nearly score.

“Confidence gets drained out of the team when we concede and that is not just this year here it’s over a number of years here.

"We have to overcome that obstacle. We have to roll our sleeves up, stick our chests out and get over this obstacle which has been in place for a number of years.

“We need better decisions and better quality. You are not going to score too many goals if you don’t do those things.

“It’s a fragile state of mind, I have been there as a player for 20 years or so. Soon it can change very quickly, we are all in this together, the fans, supporters and the staff. We have to try to ride this storm of negativity.”

Lee Cattermole was missing because of a tight hamstring and Lamine Kone had to be replaced with a groin problem.

Grayson, who handed debuts to Jonny Williams, Marc Wilson and Callum McManaman, said: “Jonny Williams was a bright spot, he played well, McManaman did well when he came on. Ultimately we have to be brave and get back to winning ways as quickly as possible.

“Catts tweaked hamstring Thursday, so we thought we would leave him out. Aiden McGeady the same.

"Bryan Oviedo has flown from one side of the world to the other and we missed those who would have started. Kone has come off with a groin injury. I am not using those as excuses though.

“We have to be brave together and we have to stand up and be counted to achieve what we need to achieve.

"There is a long way to go this season. There is not an individual in this group who was not affected by this result.

"They do care in there but it is the confidence affecting the players. We need to make it change as quickly as possible.”