Sunderland have lost their last three games – and 21 overall – and are without a goal in almost 12 hours of football.
“I always speak honestly and I think we have a bit of naivety in our play,” said Anichebe. “We go a goal down and, instead of staying tight and really concentrating to give yourselves a foundation to come back, we concede again – which makes it so difficult.
“Sometimes we chase the game thinking we need to get the goal straight away and we don’t. That naivety is the main thing.
“Look at Tottenham at Swansea on Wednesday, they went down and then scored three at the end of the game.
“But keeping clean sheets is what we need to do as a team and that’s not just about the defence, you keep a clean sheet as a team, not as individuals. Maybe we should drop back more. They are the foundations we need.
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“You can feel the nervousness when we go behind and sometimes we play to that, attack, attack and then the opposition breaks on us.
“We have a youngish team and these are things we need to knock out of our game.
“The manager [David Moyes] tells us every week to stay in the game but going two down gives you a mountain to climb, especially against a team like United.”
With Sunderland cut adrift at the foot of the table, Anichebe admits not even his first start for 10 weeks following a knee injury could lift his spirits.
“I’m feeling downbeat, obviously,” he said. “Everything seems to be going against us. I had half a chance on Sunday but the keeper came out really quickly but we just need to keep going.”
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The chances of that appear to be remote with Moyes’ side having won just one of their last 14 league games but Anichebe said: “It’s difficult, but that’s life, that’s football. I need to just keep going, the team need to just keep going and we need to just grind out results however we can for the fans who are here.
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“They come in their thousands to support us every single week, even though times are really difficult.
“I haven’t been in a position like this before with losses and it’s difficult. As much as it’s difficult for them, it’s difficult for us as well – it’s difficult for everybody.
“But we need to just carry on, keep going because it’s not good enough, let’s be honest, it’s definitely not good enough.
“We need to improve together as a team and we need to keep fighting. Like I said, it can’t get any worse.
“Hopefully everyone stays fit, everyone stays together, the fans and us and we just keep trying, keep working hard and play as well as we can.”
Sunderland intend to appeal against the red card shown to Sebastian Larsson in Sunday’s defeat by United.
The Sweden international was dismissed just before half-time at the Stadium of Light for a challenge of United midfielder Ander Herrera.
Referee Craig Pawson produced a straight red but replays suggested only minimal contact and the Black Cats have decided to contest the decision.