Sunderland boss David Moyes told the club’s fans to prepare for another relegation battle this season after Sunday’s 2-1 defeat by Middlesbrough.
The Black Cats have lost their first two games under Moyes, who replaced new England boss Sam Allardyce this summer.
Asked about supporters fearing another season-long struggle, he said: “Well, they would probably be right.
“That’s where they’ve been every other year for the last four years, so why would it suddenly change?”
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Patrick van Aanholt scored Sunderland’s consolation after Cristhian Stuani’s two goals for the visitors.
Moyes added: “I don’t think you can hide the facts. People will be flat because they are hoping that something is going to dramatically change – it can’t dramatically change, it can’t.”
The Black Cats’ past four seasons have seen them finish 17th, 14th, 16th and 17th – often staying up thanks to late rallies. The 2010-11 campaign was the last time they did not change managers during the season.
Steve Bruce, Martin O’Neill, Paolo di Canio, Gus Poyet, Dick Advocaat and Allardyce have all been in charge in the previous five seasons.
Moyes fielded five summer signings against Boro, the first Wear-Tees league derby in seven and a half years.
Four of those signings came from Moyes’ former clubs, with Donald Love, Paddy McNair and Adnan Januzaj arriving from Manchester United and Steven Pienaar having left Everton this summer. Chelsea recruit Papy Djilobodji also started in defence.
But Moyes warned that Sunderland, who lost captain John O’Shea to injury in the first half on Sunday’s match, might not bring in many more new players.
He said: “What we have got, we are having to add to it with young players as well as one or two experienced players. We have got to try to get the balance right and obviously choose and get the right players at the right price in the transfer market.
“That’s actually quite difficult. It’s easily said, but it’s not that easy to do, and the prices, as you can imagine, are a bit more than they have been in the past.”
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