Since securing their solitary Premier League win against Everton in mid-November, the Royals have failed to pick up a point. Defeats to Wigan, Aston Villa and Manchester United were compounded on Saturday by a 1-0 defeat at Southampton, leaving them 19th in the standings and six points adrift of safety.
Last season's npower Championship winners will attempt to end that run against the side directly above them, although McDermott knows his side will need to put in an improved display at Sunderland.
"You look at the four defeats and we definitely should have got something from the games that we've played," the Reading boss said ahead of the rearranged match.
"The Manchester United game last week we played really, really well but weren't solid enough. I thought our shape was much, much better against Southampton, but with the ball we weren't as good as we needed to be.
"We need to combine it all. Everything needs to come together. We're looking at the next game. That's the only thing that matters."
McDermott cut a particularly disappointed figure after the defeat at Southampton, where Jason Puncheon's second-half strike proved the difference.
Reading never really looked much like levelling things up at St Mary's after falling behind - something that frustrated McDermott. What happened at Southampton has gone," he said. "There is nothing we can do about that.
"We're disappointed about that. It is very unusual from us that we went one goal behind and didn't respond the way we normally would do.
"The last three years I have always had great responses from the players and I didn't get that against Southampton so that was disappointing. I think the first goal was really important, for obvious reasons. We hit the post in the first half and if we could have got that then the game is different."
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