Bolo Zenden has warned his Sunderland team-mates they need to reproduce their heroics against the big guns when they face lesser opposition if they are to realise their ambitions.
Zenden was a key figure in the Black Cats' 0-0 Barclays Premier League draw with Manchester United on Saturday as he was handed a rare start by manager Steve Bruce.
The Wearsiders, who have already beaten Manchester City and drawn with both Arsenal and Liverpool this season, were more than value for their point, and indeed left the pitch at the Stadium of Light feeling they should have been doing so with all three.
However, while the have consistently performed well against English football's leading lights, they have equally often let themselves down when faced with less taxing opposition, particularly away from home, and that is a trend which will have to be addressed if they are to make a genuine challenge for a top-10 finish.
The international break means they do not play again until October 18, when they head for Blackburn to play just the kind of fixture which has proved their downfall in recent times.
Zenden said: "We are happy to get results. In Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, we have played the big ones. But sometimes for some, it is easy to show up when it's the big ones, but we have to be dominant as well when we play the smaller ones and be patient and play the ball and create our chances."