Sam Allardyce admits he has got a "mammoth" task on his hands to prevent "relegation favourites" Sunderland from slipping out of the Premier League.
The 61-year-old, who has built his reputation on stabilising ailing clubs, saw the Black Cats slip to a third defeat of his four-game reign when they lost 1-0 to Southampton on Saturday.
They remain mired in the bottom three with six points from their opening 12 games, and Allardyce does not accept that time is on his side.
He said: "No, I haven't, no. We are relegation favourites because we are in the bottom three and getting out of the bottom three is a long haul now.
"When you have got fewer points than games, as many fewer points than games as we have got, then we have got a mammoth task just to get out of the trouble we are in at the moment.
"There's no point in trying to bull**** anybody: it's going to be a long haul to get where we need to get."
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Jermain Defoe has reminded Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce he did not join the club to sit on the bench.
The 33-year-old striker was used as a second-half substitute in the new manager's first game in charge, Saturday's 1-0 Premier League defeat at West Brom, as Allardyce attempted to bring a greater defensive solidity to the team he inherited from predecessor Dick Advocaat.
Defoe told the Journal:
Obviously, I can understand the manager coming in and saying he's not too sure if he wants to play 4-4-2. He might want to be more solid in midfield so you don't concede goals, so we'll just see what happens.
But at the age of 33, you want to play football. I didn't come here to sit on the bench. You want to play football and score goals. I said that from day one. I don't sit there and think, 'Well, come January I'm going to go'.
I've just got to focus on the games, stay positive and, if I play then, I've got to do my best, work hard and hopefully score.
The manager knows. I'm 33, I want to play games. If you speak to any of the boys, everyone wants to play. Yeah, the manager picks the team - you've got to respect that - but at the same time, it doesn't mean you have to be happy about it.
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Sunderland head coach Dick Advocaat has revealed he has made a decision over his future - but refused to say what it is.
The 68-year-old attended his pre-match press conference after Saturday's 2-2 Barclays Premier League draw with West Ham at the Stadium of Light, which was played out amid speculation that it was his final game in charge.
However, asked if he could confirm he would still be in post beyond this weekend, he replied: "No, I can't say that."
Asked further if he had made a decision over his future, he said: "Yes, I have made a decision.
"I don't like that I don't want to discuss my own future, you will hear it this way or the other way. Let's wait and see."
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