CHRIS COLEMAN has told Sunderland’s players and fans he is prepared to make massive changes on and off the pitch if he feels that is required to bring an end to the club’s dreadful decline and threatening a drop into League One.

Despite the lift following Coleman’s decision to leave his Wales post and take over a team sitting at the foot of the Championship before the victory at Burton nine days ago, the Black Cats were awful again when they returned to the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

After positive aspects during the first half, Sunderland were given the runaround as Reading went on to win 3-1 after Callum McManaman stupidly earned a second caution for helping the ball in with his arm deep into first half stoppage-time.

Sunderland were on course for extending the English record of winless games at home to 21 and Coleman was made all too aware of the problems he faces on home turf – and he is left to ponder how he can end the woes.

Boos rang around the Stadium of Light in frustration and only the introduction of Swedish teenager Joel Asoro brought a freshness about Sunderland’s play, and he could find himself in the starting line-up at Wolves next weekend.

Going forward Coleman is open to the idea of making drastic changes if he thinks that is what is required, even if that includes a change to old routines off the pitch – and he was asked if he might even have to alter the long-standing walk-on music of Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights.

Coleman said: “You are right. Something needs to change, I need to change something. We play Wolves next week and then we are at home to Fulham, but we need something. We need to be brave.

“Is that me being brave and changing a lot of it round to what it has been? Maybe it is. I am not afraid to do that if I think we have to, but something needs to change, that’s clear.”

Asoro and George Honeyman were two of Sunderland’s better performers on another afternoon to forget, with Coleman and the supporters surprised to see that there was no bounce from winning at Burton a week earlier.

Sunderland have an extensive injury list and the defeat to Reading has increased problems, with McManaman due to serve a suspension and both Bryan Oviedo (knee) and Paddy McNair (groin) suffered fresh problems on Saturday.

Asked if Asoro’s performance has left him considering a more youthful approach in his team selection, Coleman said: “Maybe I might give one or two (of the experienced ones) a rest from it all.”

The pressure situation they find themselves in. I thought the kids did quite well, there's less pressure on them because less is expected of them.  ”They definitely gave us a little bit of energy and played with less fear. We got into one or two situations where I expected a bit more offensively. We need to be more positive in those situations. I don't think we were positive enough and that was probably down to lacking a bit of belief. Less belief than I saw last week, but that was away from home.

"It sounds funny, but in the situation we're in, this place could be such a powerful place for us, but we've got to get them with us. A 3-1 defeat at home, it's not going to do it.  “Yes, you could say it was OK before we were down to ten men but things happen and you can go down to ten men. Deal with it, you have to change things, stay in the game and you can't lose focus and concentration, and that's what we did and it cost us.”

When Sunderland fell behind eight minutes after half-time through David Edwards’ opener, seven minutes later the home fans really started to demand more from the team when they seemed happy to sit deep and allow the visitors to pass the ball around.

The lack of intensity and energy annoyed the supporters and Reading passed the ball around between themselves, and moments later Mo Barrow grabbed two goals in three minutes to pile the on the misery. 

Coleman said: "I understood the fans reaction, the atmosphere, totally. You've got to feel sorry for the fans as well. Even if they boo for 90 minutes, they're still here. They still show up so that's how I look at it. They're the fans we've got at the moment and we've got to try to look after them, and it's only us who can do that and change the mood. 

“Up until the sending off it was OK but we've got to do better when it goes against us. You can't be so downhearted and downbeat that you lose the grip of a game. The second goal was my fault, I changed the shape, wanting to go a bit more offensive and they scored immediately. That's how it goes sometimes.

"We've got to make sure that when they show up next time at home, we send them home with a smile on their face, and it's only us who can do that.”

Reading manager Jaap Stam admitted afterwards that he had stressed to his players that they needed to use the atmosphere to their advantage and they managed to do that. 

The situation will not get any easier either in the short term, with a trip to leaders Wolves on the agenda with such a long list of absentees. Coleman knows what he has inherited, though, and is determined to lead a revival to get them out of trouble.

Then his former club Fulham, who have not fulfilled their own potential this season, will be travelling to Wearside on December 16 – just a day shy of it being a full calendar year since Sunderland last won at home against Watford.

Asked if Sunderland have gone back to square one after winning at Burton, Coleman said: “We saw a lot of good signs at Villa Park and again last week. But they were away from home. This was my first home game and there's a lot for me to ponder and think about. 

“There's a lot for all of us to go away and try to make better. The two away performances were quite encouraging, this was a step back.

“I can see what they are going through when they are here because of the pressure of not winning here for so long. I can understand how they feel. But it doesn’t matter. It is a 90-minute game of football. Whatever has happened before, even if you have won ten on the bounce, the next game is all that matters. 

“The good thing about this league is they do come thick and fast the games. It depends on how you want to look at it. Is it ‘oh my god we are playing at home again?’ I don’t look at it like that. I look at it as another opportunity to turn it around, to turn a corner. That’s how I look at it and that’s how I’ve got to try and get everyone else to look at it.”