(Reuters) - Sunderland's Fabio Borini believes his lack of goals this season is down to manager David Moyes using him in different positions across midfield due to an ongoing injury crisis at the club.
Borini's preferred position is central striker, a role that has been filled by veteran Jermain Defoe, who has 14 goals so far, while Borini has been deployed in a supporting role either behind Defoe, or to the left or right of midfield.
"I need the goals, but more than anything I need to play every week and to know what my role is because it has changed so many times," said the Italian, who has scored just once since returning from a four-month injury layoff in December.
Midfielder Jan Kirchhoff, and forwards Victor Anichebe and Duncan Watmore are out injured, and while Borini is willing to help the team out, he says all the players will benefit if they are played in their most natural positions consistently.
"The fact that the squad is thin is a problem for the manager, but as far as I am concerned I need to adapt to what the team needs," the 25-year-old added.
"Even if it is not my preference, if I don't like it because I want to score goals, then I have to change my game because helping the team was more important.
"But to be consistent and to play in a certain way every week, that would obviously be my preference -- not just for myself but for all 11 players, and the 18, and the 22 that are in the squad."
Sunderland are two points adrift at the bottom of the table, and host third-placed Manchester City on Sunday.
(Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)