Steven Pienaar: Stress makes Sunderland players 'vulnerable' to injury
Stress could be contributing to Sunderland's growing injury list, says midfielder Steven Pienaar.
The Black Cats are bottom of the Premier League, without a win all season and with just two points from a possible 24 available.
David Moyes' side have been hampered in their bid to end that run by injuries to Lee Cattermole, Jan Kirchhoff, Adnan Januzaj and Fabio Borini.
Pienaar told BBC Newcastle: "If stress levels are high, you're vulnerable."
The South African added: "When results aren't going your way, the tension and the stress gets to your body and though I'm not a doctor, you're more likely to get injured."
Moyes' appointment in the summer has thus far been unable to turn Sunderland's fortunes, after four previous seasons of relegation battles.
Even so, the Wearsiders are still better off than they were in 2013-14 when they had just one point from the opening eight games - not that it is consolation for Pienaar and his team-mates.
"I'm not going to sugar-coat it, we've not been playing to our levels," he said. "The football hasn't been great but we've got to start winning games."