Kevin Ball has insisted Sunderland must be ready to adapt their style as they try to avoid becoming cut adrift in the Premier League.
Sunderland currently have one point from their opening six games and are searching for a new a new manager after Paolo Di Canio left the club by mutual consent last month.
Ball has taken charge of the club on a caretaker basis since the Italian's departure and hopes to be considered for the role full-time by chairman Ellis Short.
And the 48-year-old has warned his players they will need to be prepared to change their approach if he is appointed.
"As each game goes on, and each team – and individuals – you come up against, the system might change," he told The Shields Gazette.
"You’d have a philosophy over the way you want to do things in time, and you might have a set system, but one that can react for certain opposition. In time, I’d love to be able to do that.
"But at the moment, I’ve only had a few days with them, and it’s important they’re in a system they understand and are comfortable with, and where they know how to play the game."
Sunderland lost their first Premier League game under Ball against Liverpool last weekend, and they face champions Manchester United on Saturday.
|8||C. Gardner||5' 53'|
|Coach: K. Ball|
for C. Gardner 56'
for A. Johnson 64'
for Sung-Yong Ki 74'
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